Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
April 26, 2015, 12:13:20 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
85809 Posts in 2269 Topics by 1068 Members
Latest Member: cdenny
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 659
101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary likely hacked by Russian, Chinese, et al 2.0 on: April 08, 2015, 12:20:54 PM
A more complete version

http://news.investors.com/politics/040715-746883-hillary-clinton-email-server-vulnerable-to-china-russia-iran.htm?p=full

Hillary Clinton's private email server was a spy magnet for the Russian, Chinese, Iranian and other intelligence services, say current and former intelligence officials.
As secretary of state, Clinton routed all her government-related email through the server, based in her house in Chappaqua, New York. She reportedly hired a Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) subsidiary to run the server, with antivirus protection from Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) McAfee. And she registered her domain name, clintonmail.com, through Network Solutions.

Intelligence professionals fear that the use of the privately installed server, free of certified government defenses against foreign interception, has been a boon to foreign cyberspies.
"By using her own private server with email — which we now know was wholly unencrypted for the first three months of Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state — she left this easily interceptable by any decent 21st century SIGINT service," said John Schindler, a former National Security Agency counterintelligence officer. SIGINT is shorthand for signals intelligence, or electronic spying.
"The name Clinton right on the email handle meant this was not a difficult find," Schindler said. "We should assume Russians, Chinese and others were seeing this."

'Epic' Counterintelligence Disaster
"In all, this is a counterintelligence disaster of truly epic proportions, not to mention that, since Clinton admitted she did not use higher-classification email systems at all" — systems like SIPR and JWICS, Schindler said — "we have to assume some bleed-over into her unsecured private email too, which makes this even worse."
SIPR is the Secret Internet Protocol Router network that the Department of Defense runs to ensure secret communications for the U.S. military, other agencies and certain allies. JWICS is the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System for top-secret government communication. Both provide secure communications for the State Department and secretary of state. Clinton's private server was not protected by the Department of Homeland Security's Einstein intrusion detection system, which relies on NSA systems, for official State Department emails.

"She may have deleted 30,000 e-mails before turning her files over to the State Department, but that doesn't mean that the Russians and the Chinese don't have them," said Michelle Van Cleave, former U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive.
Others say that the potential damage to U.S. national security is so grave that the FBI should seize the server and conduct a forensic analysis to determine the extent of foreign penetration. That analysis would be part of what is called a damage assessment, which is routine after any suspected security breach.

FBI Forensic Analysis
However, the FBI might not find anything now, according to Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of a House investigative panel, who says that Clinton had the server wiped clean. Still, the forensic analysis by trained personnel could yield valuable clues about foreign spies gaining access to America's most fiercely guarded secrets. Gowdy has called on Clinton to appear before his committee for what he called a "transcribed interview regarding her use of private email and a personal server for official State Department business."
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., a former prosecutor, said that the FBI should conduct a forensic analysis of any attempted foreign penetrations, to determine which foreign intelligence services might have hacked into Clinton's email server.
"Denying a legitimate request by the Bureau to examine her computer would certainly suggest that America's security is not Clinton's highest priority," Buck said.
"The FBI investigated a sitting CIA director for intentionally disclosing classified information. The Bureau can certainly investigate whether a former secretary of state unintentionally disclosed classified information," Buck said. "The motive may be different, but the potential damage to national security is similar."

Why Clinton hasn't offered to turn over the server to the FBI, or why the FBI has not seized it to assess the damage to national security, is unclear. A Clinton spokesperson declined to comment.
In a question-and-answer sheet provided to reporters, Clinton did not address the issue. The FBI won't say whether or not it made a request or took possession of the server. The Bureau does not have the device, according to a highly placed FBI source. That source is not cleared to speak to the press and could not speak on the record.

The lure of reading a secretary of state's emails would exert a pull on any foreign spy, intelligence officials say.

Where, on a scale of one to 10, would any sitting secretary of state rank as a target of foreign spies? "10, of course," said Van Cleave. "That being the case, all of her e-mails would have been potentially of interest to any number of foreign parties."
"A target like this would be at least a 10, maybe 10-plus if the enemy knew the email address and server," said Robert W. Stephan, a former counterintelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency who also served 19 years in the CIA. "If a foreign intelligence service determines that it is indeed the secretary of state's private communications/e-mail/server and even given the security measures that were set up, it would still be a top target for some sophisticated services," Stephan said. "Obviously Chinese, Russian, and Cuban, and possibly Iranians and North Koreans."

That statement presumes that the server was strongly protected against outside penetration, which does not seem to be the case. News reports indicate that the server's security configurations were done improperly, protecting Clinton's personal privacy and not national security, and that, even if everything was done by the book, that type of server and software package remains vulnerable to a good hacker.
"A 16-year-old can break into a server, and certainly a government sophisticated enough to break into the Sony (NYSE:SNE) system can break into Hillary Clinton's system," said Rep. Buck. "That's a no-brainer."
How would adversary spy services exploit this intelligence? "The positions, the interests, the communications between the secretary of state and her staff are of great interest to any foreign intelligence service, whether hostile or friendly," said Paul Joyal, former director of security of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"The American secretary of state using an open, unprotected server? That's an invitation to a party," said a veteran intelligence officer who asked for anonymity because he still holds active clearances. "All of her private musings. There's no secretary of state who doesn't communicate with classified information. How the hell could she do her job without it?"

Gateway To Government Systems?
"From a counterintelligence perspective, (for) anyone with any responsibility for intelligence, counterintelligence and security, this thing is a monumental disaster," the longtime senior intelligence officer said. "It's a disaster for U.S. policy. It's a huge boon for the former KGB and the Iranians."
Some experts are concerned that foreign spies could have penetrated the server as a gateway to breaking into other government systems, including classified communications.
"The real question is, what if any intelligence collection was being done on a private server somewhere?" Joyal said. "The only way to know is for the proper federal authorities to impound the server and do a forensic analysis."
"It would be possible for a hostile service to use the server as a platform to deliver other malware to other targets of their choosing, based on their knowledge of whom the former secretary and president were communicating with," Joyal said.
'Vast Deception Potential'

Foreign spies could use their access to Clinton's server to warp or distort information that government officials rely on. "If they're getting into her server, they're not just extracting stuff," said a senior former Defense Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "They're going to do things that could be planted from other sources."
"The denial and deception potential here is vast," said John Schindler, referring to intelligence tradecraft in which a spy service denies or conceals information, and seeks to deceive other countries. "Not to mention that any shady games played" by the Obama Administration "would be known to Moscow and Beijing — but not to the American public."
"It could affect a number of people within the U.S. government and, for that matter, people around the world," Joyal said. "It would behoove the federal government to conduct a forensic analysis of the server itself."
Until such a forensic analysis is done, he said, authorities simply will not know the answer.
"This should not be politicized," said Joyal. "It should be done with hard-nosed national security interests driving the forensic analysis."

• Waller is a senior reporter at the American Media Institute, a nonprofit news service.


Read More At Investor's Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/politics/040715-746883-hillary-clinton-email-server-vulnerable-to-china-russia-iran.htm#ixzz3Wjj4n2YJ
Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook
102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary likely hacked by Russian, Chinese, et al 2.0 on: April 08, 2015, 12:20:02 PM
a more complete version

http://news.investors.com/politics/040715-746883-hillary-clinton-email-server-vulnerable-to-china-russia-iran.htm?p=full

Hillary Clinton's private email server was a spy magnet for the Russian, Chinese, Iranian and other intelligence services, say current and former intelligence officials.
As secretary of state, Clinton routed all her government-related email through the server, based in her house in Chappaqua, New York. She reportedly hired a Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) subsidiary to run the server, with antivirus protection from Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) McAfee. And she registered her domain name, clintonmail.com, through Network Solutions.

Intelligence professionals fear that the use of the privately installed server, free of certified government defenses against foreign interception, has been a boon to foreign cyberspies.
"By using her own private server with email — which we now know was wholly unencrypted for the first three months of Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state — she left this easily interceptable by any decent 21st century SIGINT service," said John Schindler, a former National Security Agency counterintelligence officer. SIGINT is shorthand for signals intelligence, or electronic spying.
"The name Clinton right on the email handle meant this was not a difficult find," Schindler said. "We should assume Russians, Chinese and others were seeing this."

'Epic' Counterintelligence Disaster
"In all, this is a counterintelligence disaster of truly epic proportions, not to mention that, since Clinton admitted she did not use higher-classification email systems at all" — systems like SIPR and JWICS, Schindler said — "we have to assume some bleed-over into her unsecured private email too, which makes this even worse."
SIPR is the Secret Internet Protocol Router network that the Department of Defense runs to ensure secret communications for the U.S. military, other agencies and certain allies. JWICS is the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System for top-secret government communication. Both provide secure communications for the State Department and secretary of state. Clinton's private server was not protected by the Department of Homeland Security's Einstein intrusion detection system, which relies on NSA systems, for official State Department emails.

"She may have deleted 30,000 e-mails before turning her files over to the State Department, but that doesn't mean that the Russians and the Chinese don't have them," said Michelle Van Cleave, former U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive.
Others say that the potential damage to U.S. national security is so grave that the FBI should seize the server and conduct a forensic analysis to determine the extent of foreign penetration. That analysis would be part of what is called a damage assessment, which is routine after any suspected security breach.

FBI Forensic Analysis
However, the FBI might not find anything now, according to Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of a House investigative panel, who says that Clinton had the server wiped clean. Still, the forensic analysis by trained personnel could yield valuable clues about foreign spies gaining access to America's most fiercely guarded secrets. Gowdy has called on Clinton to appear before his committee for what he called a "transcribed interview regarding her use of private email and a personal server for official State Department business."
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., a former prosecutor, said that the FBI should conduct a forensic analysis of any attempted foreign penetrations, to determine which foreign intelligence services might have hacked into Clinton's email server.
"Denying a legitimate request by the Bureau to examine her computer would certainly suggest that America's security is not Clinton's highest priority," Buck said.
"The FBI investigated a sitting CIA director for intentionally disclosing classified information. The Bureau can certainly investigate whether a former secretary of state unintentionally disclosed classified information," Buck said. "The motive may be different, but the potential damage to national security is similar."

Why Clinton hasn't offered to turn over the server to the FBI, or why the FBI has not seized it to assess the damage to national security, is unclear. A Clinton spokesperson declined to comment.
In a question-and-answer sheet provided to reporters, Clinton did not address the issue. The FBI won't say whether or not it made a request or took possession of the server. The Bureau does not have the device, according to a highly placed FBI source. That source is not cleared to speak to the press and could not speak on the record.

The lure of reading a secretary of state's emails would exert a pull on any foreign spy, intelligence officials say.

Where, on a scale of one to 10, would any sitting secretary of state rank as a target of foreign spies? "10, of course," said Van Cleave. "That being the case, all of her e-mails would have been potentially of interest to any number of foreign parties."
"A target like this would be at least a 10, maybe 10-plus if the enemy knew the email address and server," said Robert W. Stephan, a former counterintelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency who also served 19 years in the CIA. "If a foreign intelligence service determines that it is indeed the secretary of state's private communications/e-mail/server and even given the security measures that were set up, it would still be a top target for some sophisticated services," Stephan said. "Obviously Chinese, Russian, and Cuban, and possibly Iranians and North Koreans."

That statement presumes that the server was strongly protected against outside penetration, which does not seem to be the case. News reports indicate that the server's security configurations were done improperly, protecting Clinton's personal privacy and not national security, and that, even if everything was done by the book, that type of server and software package remains vulnerable to a good hacker.
"A 16-year-old can break into a server, and certainly a government sophisticated enough to break into the Sony (NYSE:SNE) system can break into Hillary Clinton's system," said Rep. Buck. "That's a no-brainer."
How would adversary spy services exploit this intelligence? "The positions, the interests, the communications between the secretary of state and her staff are of great interest to any foreign intelligence service, whether hostile or friendly," said Paul Joyal, former director of security of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"The American secretary of state using an open, unprotected server? That's an invitation to a party," said a veteran intelligence officer who asked for anonymity because he still holds active clearances. "All of her private musings. There's no secretary of state who doesn't communicate with classified information. How the hell could she do her job without it?"

Gateway To Government Systems?
"From a counterintelligence perspective, (for) anyone with any responsibility for intelligence, counterintelligence and security, this thing is a monumental disaster," the longtime senior intelligence officer said. "It's a disaster for U.S. policy. It's a huge boon for the former KGB and the Iranians."
Some experts are concerned that foreign spies could have penetrated the server as a gateway to breaking into other government systems, including classified communications.
"The real question is, what if any intelligence collection was being done on a private server somewhere?" Joyal said. "The only way to know is for the proper federal authorities to impound the server and do a forensic analysis."
"It would be possible for a hostile service to use the server as a platform to deliver other malware to other targets of their choosing, based on their knowledge of whom the former secretary and president were communicating with," Joyal said.
'Vast Deception Potential'

Foreign spies could use their access to Clinton's server to warp or distort information that government officials rely on. "If they're getting into her server, they're not just extracting stuff," said a senior former Defense Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "They're going to do things that could be planted from other sources."
"The denial and deception potential here is vast," said John Schindler, referring to intelligence tradecraft in which a spy service denies or conceals information, and seeks to deceive other countries. "Not to mention that any shady games played" by the Obama Administration "would be known to Moscow and Beijing — but not to the American public."
"It could affect a number of people within the U.S. government and, for that matter, people around the world," Joyal said. "It would behoove the federal government to conduct a forensic analysis of the server itself."
Until such a forensic analysis is done, he said, authorities simply will not know the answer.
"This should not be politicized," said Joyal. "It should be done with hard-nosed national security interests driving the forensic analysis."

• Waller is a senior reporter at the American Media Institute, a nonprofit news service.


Read More At Investor's Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/politics/040715-746883-hillary-clinton-email-server-vulnerable-to-china-russia-iran.htm#ixzz3Wjj4n2YJ
Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook
103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Reality interrupts on: April 08, 2015, 11:34:29 AM
http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2015/04/07/last-ioc-in-marine-experiment-drops-two-officers/25418867/
104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary likely hacked by Russian, Chinese, et al on: April 08, 2015, 11:08:03 AM
Investor’s Business Daily published a long article on Tuesday night, collecting the opinions of current and former intelligence officials about the national security threat posed by Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

It feels like a floodgate bursting open.  These experts are absolutely beside themselves over Clinton’s irresponsible conduct as Secretary of State.  Former NSA officer John Schindler called it “a counterintelligence disaster of truly epic proportions.”

“She may have deleted 30,000 emails before turning her files over to the State Department,” observed former U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive Michelle Van Cleave, “but that doesn’t mean that the Russians and the Chinese don’t have them.”

Ever since Clinton began destroying subpoenaed evidence and refusing to hand her server over for analysis, it’s been a running joke among Internet wags that if Congress wants to see her email, they should ask the Russians and Chinese for copies.

But that’s not really a joke.  The intelligence community has to assume, based on the weak security of Clinton’s secret server — slipshod even by private corporate standards — that every piece of sensitive information she ever handled has been compromised.  Her server was called “clintonemail.com” — it was easy to find.  Her email was completely unencrypted for three months after she became Secretary of State.

“It’s a disaster for U.S. policy.  It’s a huge boon for the former KGB and the Iranians,” said a veteran intelligence officer who spoke to IBD anonymously.  The officer found Clinton’s claims that she never handled classified information through her private server laughable — “how the hell could she do her job without it?”

Also, as Schindler pointed out to IBD, we have to assume there was “bleed-over” into her private email as well, since we’ve discovered instances of Clinton mistakenly replying to official messages as if they were personal correspondence.

The IBD piece was most likely put together before news broke about Russian hackers penetrating White House systems; one suspects these intelligence experts are even more apprehensive about the risks Clinton took in light of those developments.  There is some discussion in the Investors’ Business Daily piece about how foreign spies might have used Clinton’s vulnerable server as a launching pad for attacks on other government systems.  The sort of “spear phishing” attack used to get into the White House system would be especially potent if malware-laced emails were ostensibly coming from the Secretary of State.

“It would be possible for a hostile service to use the server as a platform to deliver other malware to other targets of their choosing, based on their knowledge of whom the former secretary and president were communicating with,” said Paul Joyal, the former director of security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

A senior former Defense Department official seconded that notion: “If they’re getting into her server, they’re not just extracting stuff.  They’re going to do things that could be planted from other sources.”

Most of these experts called for the sort of extensive independent analysis of her server that Clinton has adamantly refused to allow — in fact, she’s still tampering with the machine, as it became known last week that she deleted everything she didn’t decide to turn over to the State Department.  Given her manipulation of the data, it might already be impossible to learn everything counterintelligence experts need to assess the possible penetration of the system.  (You can bet she did a lot more to destroy the emails she doesn’t want security experts, Congress, or the American people to see than merely click the “Delete” buttons in her email program.)

“Why Clinton hasn’t offered to turn over the server to the FBI, or why the FBI has not seized it to assess the damage to national security, is unclear,” IBD writes.

Is it?  There are a lot of questions swirling around this debacle, including the extent to which Hillary Clinton jeopardized national security, but her motivation really isn’t one of them.  There’s nothing mysterious or unprecedented about the Obama Administration’s belief that Democrat royalty is above the law, either.  Did anyone seriously expect agents of this politicized Justice Department to raid Hillary’s mansion in Chappaqua and seize that computer?
105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary likely got hacked by Russians, Chinese, et al on: April 08, 2015, 11:04:43 AM
Investor’s Business Daily published a long article on Tuesday night, collecting the opinions of current and former intelligence officials about the national security threat posed by Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

It feels like a floodgate bursting open.  These experts are absolutely beside themselves over Clinton’s irresponsible conduct as Secretary of State.  Former NSA officer John Schindler called it “a counterintelligence disaster of truly epic proportions.”

“She may have deleted 30,000 emails before turning her files over to the State Department,” observed former U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive Michelle Van Cleave, “but that doesn’t mean that the Russians and the Chinese don’t have them.”

Ever since Clinton began destroying subpoenaed evidence and refusing to hand her server over for analysis, it’s been a running joke among Internet wags that if Congress wants to see her email, they should ask the Russians and Chinese for copies.

But that’s not really a joke.  The intelligence community has to assume, based on the weak security of Clinton’s secret server — slipshod even by private corporate standards — that every piece of sensitive information she ever handled has been compromised.  Her server was called “clintonemail.com” — it was easy to find.  Her email was completely unencrypted for three months after she became Secretary of State.

“It’s a disaster for U.S. policy.  It’s a huge boon for the former KGB and the Iranians,” said a veteran intelligence officer who spoke to IBD anonymously.  The officer found Clinton’s claims that she never handled classified information through her private server laughable — “how the hell could she do her job without it?”

Also, as Schindler pointed out to IBD, we have to assume there was “bleed-over” into her private email as well, since we’ve discovered instances of Clinton mistakenly replying to official messages as if they were personal correspondence.

The IBD piece was most likely put together before news broke about Russian hackers penetrating White House systems; one suspects these intelligence experts are even more apprehensive about the risks Clinton took in light of those developments.  There is some discussion in the Investors’ Business Daily piece about how foreign spies might have used Clinton’s vulnerable server as a launching pad for attacks on other government systems.  The sort of “spear phishing” attack used to get into the White House system would be especially potent if malware-laced emails were ostensibly coming from the Secretary of State.

“It would be possible for a hostile service to use the server as a platform to deliver other malware to other targets of their choosing, based on their knowledge of whom the former secretary and president were communicating with,” said Paul Joyal, the former director of security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

A senior former Defense Department official seconded that notion: “If they’re getting into her server, they’re not just extracting stuff.  They’re going to do things that could be planted from other sources.”

Most of these experts called for the sort of extensive independent analysis of her server that Clinton has adamantly refused to allow — in fact, she’s still tampering with the machine, as it became known last week that she deleted everything she didn’t decide to turn over to the State Department.  Given her manipulation of the data, it might already be impossible to learn everything counterintelligence experts need to assess the possible penetration of the system.  (You can bet she did a lot more to destroy the emails she doesn’t want security experts, Congress, or the American people to see than merely click the “Delete” buttons in her email program.)

“Why Clinton hasn’t offered to turn over the server to the FBI, or why the FBI has not seized it to assess the damage to national security, is unclear,” IBD writes.

Is it?  There are a lot of questions swirling around this debacle, including the extent to which Hillary Clinton jeopardized national security, but her motivation really isn’t one of them.  There’s nothing mysterious or unprecedented about the Obama Administration’s belief that Democrat royalty is above the law, either.  Did anyone seriously expect agents of this politicized Justice Department to raid Hillary’s mansion in Chappaqua and seize that computer?
106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: April 08, 2015, 10:57:55 AM
http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/careers/army/2015/04/08/82nd-airborne-deploy-iraq/25458325/
107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Serious Read: Kissinger and Shultz on Obama-Kerry's nuke deal on: April 08, 2015, 10:56:28 AM
The Iran Deal and Its Consequences
Mixing shrewd diplomacy with defiance of U.N. resolutions, Iran has turned the negotiation on its head.
By Henry Kissinger And George P. Shultz
Updated April 7, 2015 7:38 p.m. ET
508 COMMENTS

The announced framework for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program has the potential to generate a seminal national debate. Advocates exult over the nuclear constraints it would impose on Iran. Critics question the verifiability of these constraints and their longer-term impact on regional and world stability. The historic significance of the agreement and indeed its sustainability depend on whether these emotions, valid by themselves, can be reconciled.

Debate regarding technical details of the deal has thus far inhibited the soul-searching necessary regarding its deeper implications. For 20 years, three presidents of both major parties proclaimed that an Iranian nuclear weapon was contrary to American and global interests—and that they were prepared to use force to prevent it. Yet negotiations that began 12 years ago as an international effort to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability, albeit short of its full capacity in the first 10 years.
Opinion Journal Video
Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot on President Obama’s preference to cut Congress out of the Iran nuclear deal, and the implications for future Congresses. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Mixing shrewd diplomacy with open defiance of U.N. resolutions, Iran has gradually turned the negotiation on its head. Iran’s centrifuges have multiplied from about 100 at the beginning of the negotiation to almost 20,000 today. The threat of war now constrains the West more than Iran. While Iran treated the mere fact of its willingness to negotiate as a concession, the West has felt compelled to break every deadlock with a new proposal. In the process, the Iranian program has reached a point officially described as being within two to three months of building a nuclear weapon. Under the proposed agreement, for 10 years Iran will never be further than one year from a nuclear weapon and, after a decade, will be significantly closer.
Inspections and Enforcement

The president deserves respect for the commitment with which he has pursued the objective of reducing nuclear peril, as does Secretary of State John Kerry for the persistence, patience and ingenuity with which he has striven to impose significant constraints on Iran’s nuclear program.

Progress has been made on shrinking the size of Iran’s enriched stockpile, confining the enrichment of uranium to one facility, and limiting aspects of the enrichment process. Still, the ultimate significance of the framework will depend on its verifiability and enforceability.

Negotiating the final agreement will be extremely challenging. For one thing, no official text has yet been published. The so-called framework represents a unilateral American interpretation. Some of its clauses have been dismissed by the principal Iranian negotiator as “spin.” A joint EU-Iran statement differs in important respects, especially with regard to the lifting of sanctions and permitted research and development.

Comparable ambiguities apply to the one-year window for a presumed Iranian breakout. Emerging at a relatively late stage in the negotiation, this concept replaced the previous baseline—that Iran might be permitted a technical capacity compatible with a plausible civilian nuclear program. The new approach complicates verification and makes it more political because of the vagueness of the criteria.

Under the new approach, Iran permanently gives up none of its equipment, facilities or fissile product to achieve the proposed constraints. It only places them under temporary restriction and safeguard—amounting in many cases to a seal at the door of a depot or periodic visits by inspectors to declared sites. The physical magnitude of the effort is daunting. Is the International Atomic Energy Agency technically, and in terms of human resources, up to so complex and vast an assignment?

In a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to detect. Devising theoretical models of inspection is one thing. Enforcing compliance, week after week, despite competing international crises and domestic distractions, is another. Any report of a violation is likely to prompt debate over its significance—or even calls for new talks with Tehran to explore the issue. The experience of Iran’s work on a heavy-water reactor during the “interim agreement” period—when suspect activity was identified but played down in the interest of a positive negotiating atmosphere—is not encouraging.

Compounding the difficulty is the unlikelihood that breakout will be a clear-cut event. More likely it will occur, if it does, via the gradual accumulation of ambiguous evasions.

When inevitable disagreements arise over the scope and intrusiveness of inspections, on what criteria are we prepared to insist and up to what point? If evidence is imperfect, who bears the burden of proof? What process will be followed to resolve the matter swiftly?

The agreement’s primary enforcement mechanism, the threat of renewed sanctions, emphasizes a broad-based asymmetry, which provides Iran permanent relief from sanctions in exchange for temporary restraints on Iranian conduct. Undertaking the “snap-back” of sanctions is unlikely to be as clear or as automatic as the phrase implies. Iran is in a position to violate the agreement by executive decision. Restoring the most effective sanctions will require coordinated international action. In countries that had reluctantly joined in previous rounds, the demands of public and commercial opinion will militate against automatic or even prompt “snap-back.” If the follow-on process does not unambiguously define the term, an attempt to reimpose sanctions risks primarily isolating America, not Iran.

The gradual expiration of the framework agreement, beginning in a decade, will enable Iran to become a significant nuclear, industrial and military power after that time—in the scope and sophistication of its nuclear program and its latent capacity to weaponize at a time of its choosing. Limits on Iran’s research and development have not been publicly disclosed (or perhaps agreed). Therefore Iran will be in a position to bolster its advanced nuclear technology during the period of the agreement and rapidly deploy more advanced centrifuges—of at least five times the capacity of the current model—after the agreement expires or is broken.

The follow-on negotiations must carefully address a number of key issues, including the mechanism for reducing Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium from 10,000 to 300 kilograms, the scale of uranium enrichment after 10 years, and the IAEA’s concerns regarding previous Iranian weapons efforts. The ability to resolve these and similar issues should determine the decision over whether or when the U.S. might still walk away from the negotiations.
The Framework Agreement and Long-Term Deterrence

Even when these issues are resolved, another set of problems emerges because the negotiating process has created its own realities. The interim agreement accepted Iranian enrichment; the new agreement makes it an integral part of the architecture. For the U.S., a decade-long restriction on Iran’s nuclear capacity is a possibly hopeful interlude. For Iran’s neighbors—who perceive their imperatives in terms of millennial rivalries—it is a dangerous prelude to an even more dangerous permanent fact of life. Some of the chief actors in the Middle East are likely to view the U.S. as willing to concede a nuclear military capability to the country they consider their principal threat. Several will insist on at least an equivalent capability. Saudi Arabia has signaled that it will enter the lists; others are likely to follow. In that sense, the implications of the negotiation are irreversible.

If the Middle East is “proliferated” and becomes host to a plethora of nuclear-threshold states, several in mortal rivalry with each other, on what concept of nuclear deterrence or strategic stability will international security be based? Traditional theories of deterrence assumed a series of bilateral equations. Do we now envision an interlocking series of rivalries, with each new nuclear program counterbalancing others in the region?

Previous thinking on nuclear strategy also assumed the existence of stable state actors. Among the original nuclear powers, geographic distances and the relatively large size of programs combined with moral revulsion to make surprise attack all but inconceivable. How will these doctrines translate into a region where sponsorship of nonstate proxies is common, the state structure is under assault, and death on behalf of jihad is a kind of fulfillment?

Some have suggested the U.S. can dissuade Iran’s neighbors from developing individual deterrent capacities by extending an American nuclear umbrella to them. But how will these guarantees be defined? What factors will govern their implementation? Are the guarantees extended against the use of nuclear weapons—or against any military attack, conventional or nuclear? Is it the domination by Iran that we oppose or the method for achieving it? What if nuclear weapons are employed as psychological blackmail? And how will such guarantees be expressed, or reconciled with public opinion and constitutional practices?
Regional Order

For some, the greatest value in an agreement lies in the prospect of an end, or at least a moderation, of Iran’s 3½ decades of militant hostility to the West and established international institutions, and an opportunity to draw Iran into an effort to stabilize the Middle East. Having both served in government during a period of American-Iranian strategic alignment and experienced its benefits for both countries as well as the Middle East, we would greatly welcome such an outcome. Iran is a significant national state with a historic culture, a fierce national identity, and a relatively youthful, educated population; its re-emergence as a partner would be a consequential event.

But partnership in what task? Cooperation is not an exercise in good feeling; it presupposes congruent definitions of stability. There exists no current evidence that Iran and the U.S. are remotely near such an understanding. Even while combating common enemies, such as ISIS, Iran has declined to embrace common objectives. Iran’s representatives (including its Supreme Leader) continue to profess a revolutionary anti-Western concept of international order; domestically, some senior Iranians describe nuclear negotiations as a form of jihad by other means.

The final stages of the nuclear talks have coincided with Iran’s intensified efforts to expand and entrench its power in neighboring states. Iranian or Iranian client forces are now the pre-eminent military or political element in multiple Arab countries, operating beyond the control of national authorities. With the recent addition of Yemen as a battlefield, Tehran occupies positions along all of the Middle East’s strategic waterways and encircles archrival Saudi Arabia, an American ally. Unless political restraint is linked to nuclear restraint, an agreement freeing Iran from sanctions risks empowering Iran’s hegemonic efforts.

Some have argued that these concerns are secondary, since the nuclear deal is a way station toward the eventual domestic transformation of Iran. But what gives us the confidence that we will prove more astute at predicting Iran’s domestic course than Vietnam’s, Afghanistan’s, Iraq’s, Syria’s, Egypt’s or Libya’s?

Absent the linkage between nuclear and political restraint, America’s traditional allies will conclude that the U.S. has traded temporary nuclear cooperation for acquiescence to Iranian hegemony. They will increasingly look to create their own nuclear balances and, if necessary, call in other powers to sustain their integrity. Does America still hope to arrest the region’s trends toward sectarian upheaval, state collapse and the disequilibrium of power tilting toward Tehran, or do we now accept this as an irremediable aspect of the regional balance?

Some advocates have suggested that the agreement can serve as a way to dissociate America from Middle East conflicts, culminating in the military retreat from the region initiated by the current administration. As Sunni states gear up to resist a new Shiite empire, the opposite is likely to be the case. The Middle East will not stabilize itself, nor will a balance of power naturally assert itself out of Iranian-Sunni competition. (Even if that were our aim, traditional balance of power theory suggests the need to bolster the weaker side, not the rising or expanding power.) Beyond stability, it is in America’s strategic interest to prevent the outbreak of nuclear war and its catastrophic consequences. Nuclear arms must not be permitted to turn into conventional weapons. The passions of the region allied with weapons of mass destruction may impel deepening American involvement.

If the world is to be spared even worse turmoil, the U.S. must develop a strategic doctrine for the region. Stability requires an active American role. For Iran to be a valuable member of the international community, the prerequisite is that it accepts restraint on its ability to destabilize the Middle East and challenge the broader international order.

Until clarity on an American strategic political concept is reached, the projected nuclear agreement will reinforce, not resolve, the world’s challenges in the region. Rather than enabling American disengagement from the Middle East, the nuclear framework is more likely to necessitate deepening involvement there—on complex new terms. History will not do our work for us; it helps only those who seek to help themselves.

Messrs. Kissinger and Shultz are former secretaries of state.
Popular on WSJ
108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ on Sen. Rand Paul on: April 08, 2015, 10:28:47 AM
The Rand Paul Difference
He’s sound on domestic reform, but worrying on national security.

 
Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) formally announces his presidential campaign at the Galt House hotel in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News
April 7, 2015 7:17 p.m. ET
 
Rand Paul on Tuesday became the latest GOP candidate to formally announce his campaign for President, promising to be “a different kind of Republican.” That can be a good or bad difference, depending on whether the first-term Kentucky Senate is talking about smaller government or some of his nostrums about national security.
In virtually every area of domestic policy, Mr. Paul is a fresh, energetic voice enriching the public debate. Most corners of the Republican Party these days have an appetite for “a return to a government restrained by the Constitution,” as the first-term Kentucky Senator put it in Louisville Tuesday.

That is a much-needed message after two terms of an Obama Presidency that has bent or broken traditional restraints on the raw use of executive power. With his libertarian pedigree, Mr. Paul brings more credibility than some of his competitors to this cause.

Mr. Paul also understands that Republicans can’t regain the White House without doing better among young voters and minorities. His instincts on such things as criminal-justice reform are a good start.

But his decision to court the race-baiting Rev. Al Sharpton, as he did with a meeting in the Senate dining room, is counterproductive. Mr. Sharpton is invested in the old politics of racial division and will knee-cap Mr. Paul when it serves his purposes. Mr. Paul would do better to engage and elevate a new generation of black leaders.
Senator Paul says he will run on a flat tax, a good idea that could also set him apart from some of his competitors who will be more cautious. The flat tax isn’t a new idea but it is a good one that would increase economic growth and reduce the sort of favoritism that lets the rich and powerful use politicians to game the tax code.

Mr. Paul’s views on national security aren’t nearly as consistent. He began his Senate tenure arguing for cuts in defense spending, but these days he’s promising “a national defense robust enough to defend against all attack, modern enough to deter all enemies, and nimble enough to defend our vital interests.” For those generalizations to mean anything, it takes money.

Senator Paul’s turnaround on defense spending no doubt reflects a recognition that President Obama is likely to bequeath his successor a world of disorder. If so, the Senator needs to tell voters how he would handle the world differently than Mr. Obama.

His public statements suggest strongly that he has an a priori aversion to U.S. intervention, a belief independent of what is happening in the world. At times some U.S. intervention is essential when no other option exists to quell growing threats.

It isn’t clear the Senator understands this, as when he distorts the history of Syria as an example of intervention gone awry. He said in a Senate floor speech last September that U.S. support for anti-Assad rebels was responsible for arming Islamic State and the al Qaeda offshoot al Nusrah. The truth is that the Syrian civil war exploded into a regional and global threat after Mr. Obama chose not to intervene while also leaving Iraq.

On surveillance by the National Security Agency, Mr. Paul is to the left of Mr. Obama. In his announcement Tuesday, he said as President he would end Mr. Obama’s “vast dragnet by executive order” and “on day one” end “this unconstitutional surveillance.” But the surveillance is constitutional and the “dragnet” is a myth, as we assume his competitors will point out in Super PAC ads.

Senator Paul has real political skills and an interesting mind that have helped him gain a hearing from voters. We expect he’ll enliven the debate and force his competition to sharpen their own views, and we’ll see how much difference GOP voters want in their 2016 nominee.
109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fed judge insists on enforcement on: April 08, 2015, 12:20:46 AM
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/7/obama-motion-immediately-restart-amnesty-rejected-/
110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Japan's new heli-destroyer on: April 07, 2015, 05:58:54 PM
http://theweek.com/articles/548082/china-right-alarmed-by-japans-new-helicopter-destroyer
111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / George Will on Sen.Ted Cruz on: April 07, 2015, 12:32:05 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/cruz-is-aiming-at-the-wrong-republicans/2015/04/01/87899c0a-d893-11e4-b3f2-607bd612aeac_story.html
112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Not on my watch"? True, its on the next Prez's watch on: April 07, 2015, 12:19:12 PM
Baraq admits Iran goes nuke in 13 years.
113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CAIR vs U South Dakota on: April 07, 2015, 12:16:10 PM
http://www.clarionproject.org/news/pressure-university-south-dakota-cancel-honor-diaries
114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / John Adams on the Militia on: April 07, 2015, 12:15:19 PM
"The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws." --John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787
115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hirsi Ali: Liberals, get your priorities straight on: April 07, 2015, 11:40:27 AM
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/05/ayaan-to-liberals-get-your-priorities-straight.html
116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / UT CCW stops carjacking on: April 07, 2015, 09:57:42 AM
http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/04/05/gun-toting-good-samaritan-thwarts-carjacking-georgia-car-wash
117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Big arms deal with Pakistan? on: April 07, 2015, 09:29:32 AM
Did we say business? Pakistan wants to buy 15 AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopters and 1,000 Hellfire II missiles from the U.S. in a deal that would be worth about $952 million if the U.S. Congress signs off on it. The sale would up Pakistan's precision firepower in places like the "North Waziristan Agency, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and other remote and mountainous areas in all-weather, day-and-night environments" the Department of Defense wrote on April 6. The deal would also make some money for U.S. defense contractors Textron, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin.
118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US offers to begin aerial refueling for Saudis on: April 07, 2015, 09:28:22 AM
The beginning? On April 6, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren confirmed that the U.S. has agreed to begin performing aerial refueling of Saudi and allied bombers hitting targets in Yemen, with the caveat that American tankers won’t gas up over Yemeni airspace.

"Aerial refueling has been approved but has not yet been conducted," he told reporters at the Pentagon. "It’s been authorized, assets are in place. The Saudis have not requested it. Any refueling will not take place over Yemen. Any refueling will take place over Saudi Arabia or other places."
119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Price of Tyranny & Totalitarianism on: April 07, 2015, 09:26:38 AM
 cry cry cry cry cry cry cry cry cry
120  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Lacrosse coach fired on: April 07, 2015, 09:05:58 AM
http://www.jihadwatch.org/2015/04/maine-lacrosse-coach-loses-job-for-criticizing-islam
121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Forbes praises Obamacare on: April 06, 2015, 06:00:43 PM
http://www.ifyouonlynews.com/weird-news/conservative-forbes-admits-obamacare-is-adding-jobs-and-helping-the-economy/
122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Allah seems to be pist off at ISIS on: April 06, 2015, 04:51:57 PM
http://freedomjournalism.com/2015/04/05/isis-caliphate-struggling-with-flesh-eating-microbe-epidemic-karma/
123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California Docs not digging Medicare or Medicaid on: April 06, 2015, 04:51:17 PM
http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/half-of-california-doctors-say-no-to-new-medicaid-patients-others-limit
124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: April 06, 2015, 11:58:01 AM
Excellent response Doug!

Continuing to explore additional perspectives, here is something Stratfor wrote five years ago-- though I find it quite glib regarding the nuclear issue, there are a number of ideas worthy of considerable reflection IMHO:

 Thinking About the Unthinkable: A U.S.-Iranian Deal
Geopolitical Weekly
March 1, 2010 | 17:03 GMT
Print
Text Size

By George Friedman

The United States apparently has reached the point where it must either accept that Iran will develop nuclear weapons at some point if it wishes, or take military action to prevent this. There is a third strategy, however: Washington can seek to redefine the Iranian question.

As we have no idea what leaders on either side are thinking, exploring this represents an exercise in geopolitical theory. Let's begin with the two apparent stark choices.
Diplomacy vs. the Military Option

The diplomatic approach consists of creating a broad coalition prepared to impose what have been called crippling sanctions on Iran. Effective sanctions must be so painful that they compel the target to change its behavior. In Tehran's case, this could only consist of blocking Iran's imports of gasoline. Iran imports 35 percent of the gasoline it consumes. It is not clear that a gasoline embargo would be crippling, but it is the only embargo that might work. All other forms of sanctions against Iran would be mere gestures designed to give the impression that something is being done.

The Chinese will not participate in any gasoline embargo. Beijing gets 11 percent of its oil from Iran, and it has made it clear it will continue to deliver gasoline to Iran. Moscow's position is that Russia might consider sanctions down the road, but it hasn't specified when, and it hasn't specified what. The Russians are more than content seeing the U.S. bogged down in the Middle East and so are not inclined to solve American problems in the region. With the Chinese and Russians unlikely to embargo gasoline, these sanctions won't create significant pain for Iran. Since all other sanctions are gestures, the diplomatic approach is therefore unlikely to work.

The military option has its own risks. First, its success depends on the quality of intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities and on the degree of hardening of those targets. Second, it requires successful air attacks. Third, it requires battle damage assessments that tell the attacker whether the strike succeeded. Fourth, it requires follow-on raids to destroy facilities that remain functional. And fifth, attacks must do more than simply set back Iran's program a few months or even years: If the risk of a nuclear Iran is great enough to justify the risks of war, the outcome must be decisive.

Each point in this process is a potential failure point. Given the multiplicity of these points — which includes others not mentioned — failure may not be an option, but it is certainly possible.

But even if the attacks succeed, the question of what would happen the day after the attacks remains. Iran has its own counters. It has a superbly effective terrorist organization, Hezbollah, at its disposal. It has sufficient influence in Iraq to destabilize that country and force the United States to keep forces in Iraq badly needed elsewhere. And it has the ability to use mines and missiles to attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf shipping lanes for some period — driving global oil prices through the roof while the global economy is struggling to stabilize itself. Iran's position on its nuclear program is rooted in the awareness that while it might not have assured options in the event of a military strike, it has counters that create complex and unacceptable risks. Iran therefore does not believe the United States will strike or permit Israel to strike, as the consequences would be unacceptable.

To recap, the United States either can accept a nuclear Iran or risk an attack that might fail outright, impose only a minor delay on Iran's nuclear program or trigger extremely painful responses even if it succeeds. When neither choice is acceptable, it is necessary to find a third choice.
Redefining the Iranian Problem

As long as the problem of Iran is defined in terms of its nuclear program, the United States is in an impossible place. Therefore, the Iranian problem must be redefined. One attempt at redefinition involves hope for an uprising against the current regime. We will not repeat our views on this in depth, but in short, we do not regard these demonstrations to be a serious threat to the regime. Tehran has handily crushed them, and even if they did succeed, we do not believe they would produce a regime any more accommodating toward the United States. The idea of waiting for a revolution is more useful as a justification for inaction — and accepting a nuclear Iran — than it is as a strategic alternative.

At this moment, Iran is the most powerful regional military force in the Persian Gulf. Unless the United States permanently stations substantial military forces in the region, there is no military force able to block Iran. Turkey is more powerful than Iran, but it is far from the Persian Gulf and focused on other matters at the moment, and it doesn't want to take on Iran militarily — at least not for a very long time. At the very least, this means the United States cannot withdraw from Iraq. Baghdad is too weak to block Iran from the Arabian Peninsula, and the Iraqi government has elements friendly toward Iran.

Historically, regional stability depended on the Iraqi-Iranian balance of power. When it tottered in 1990, the result was the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The United States did not push into Iraq in 1991 because it did not want to upset the regional balance of power by creating a vacuum in Iraq. Rather, U.S. strategy was to re-establish the Iranian-Iraqi balance of power to the greatest extent possible, as the alternative was basing large numbers of U.S. troops in the region.

The decision to invade Iraq in 2003 assumed that once the Baathist regime was destroyed the United States would rapidly create a strong Iraqi government that would balance Iran. The core mistake in this thinking lay in failing to recognize that the new Iraqi government would be filled with Shiites, many of whom regarded Iran as a friendly power. Rather than balancing Iran, Iraq could well become an Iranian satellite. The Iranians strongly encouraged the American invasion precisely because they wanted to create a situation where Iraq moved toward Iran's orbit. When this in fact began happening, the Americans had no choice but an extended occupation of Iraq, a trap both the Bush and Obama administrations have sought to escape.

It is difficult to define Iran's influence in Iraq at this point. But at a minimum, while Iran may not be able to impose a pro-Iranian state on Iraq, it has sufficient influence to block the creation of any strong Iraqi government either through direct influence in the government or by creating destabilizing violence in Iraq. In other words, Iran can prevent Iraq from emerging as a counterweight to Iran, and Iran has every reason to do this. Indeed, it is doing just this.
The Fundamental U.S.-Iranian Issue

Iraq, not nuclear weapons, is the fundamental issue between Iran and the United States. Iran wants to see a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq so Iran can assume its place as the dominant military power in the Persian Gulf. The United States wants to withdraw from Iraq because it faces challenges in Afghanistan — where it will also need Iranian cooperation — and elsewhere. Committing forces to Iraq for an extended period of time while fighting in Afghanistan leaves the United States exposed globally. Events involving China or Russia — such as the 2008 war in Georgia — would see the United States without a counter. The alternative would be a withdrawal from Afghanistan or a massive increase in U.S. armed forces. The former is not going to happen any time soon, and the latter is an economic impossibility.

Therefore, the United States must find a way to counterbalance Iran without an open-ended deployment in Iraq and without expecting the re-emergence of Iraqi power, because Iran is not going to allow the latter to happen. The nuclear issue is simply an element of this broader geopolitical problem, as it adds another element to the Iranian tool kit. It is not a stand-alone issue.

The United States has an interesting strategy in redefining problems that involves creating extraordinary alliances with mortal ideological and geopolitical enemies to achieve strategic U.S. goals. First consider Franklin Roosevelt's alliance with Stalinist Russia to block Nazi Germany. He pursued this alliance despite massive political outrage not only from isolationists but also from institutions like the Roman Catholic Church that regarded the Soviets as the epitome of evil.

Now consider Richard Nixon's decision to align with China at a time when the Chinese were supplying weapons to North Vietnam that were killing American troops. Moreover, Mao — who had said he did not fear nuclear war as China could absorb a few hundred million deaths — was considered, with reason, quite mad. Nevertheless, Nixon, as anti-Communist and anti-Chinese a figure as existed in American politics, understood that an alliance (and despite the lack of a formal treaty, alliance it was) with China was essential to counterbalance the Soviet Union at a time when American power was still being sapped in Vietnam.

Roosevelt and Nixon both faced impossible strategic situations unless they were prepared to redefine the strategic equation dramatically and accept the need for alliance with countries that had previously been regarded as strategic and moral threats. American history is filled with opportunistic alliances designed to solve impossible strategic dilemmas. The Stalin and Mao cases represent stunning alliances with prior enemies designed to block a third power seen as more dangerous.

It is said that Ahmadinejad is crazy. It was also said that Mao and Stalin were crazy, in both cases with much justification. Ahmadinejad has said many strange things and issued numerous threats. But when Roosevelt ignored what Stalin said and Nixon ignored what Mao said, they each discovered that Stalin's and Mao's actions were far more rational and predictable than their rhetoric. Similarly, what the Iranians say and what they do are quite different.
U.S. vs. Iranian Interests

Consider the American interest. First, it must maintain the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz. The United States cannot tolerate interruptions, and that limits the risks it can take. Second, it must try to keep any one power from controlling all of the oil in the Persian Gulf, as that would give such a country too much long-term power within the global system. Third, while the United States is involved in a war with elements of the Sunni Muslim world, it must reduce the forces devoted to that war. Fourth, it must deal with the Iranian problem directly. Europe will go as far as sanctions but no further, while the Russians and Chinese won't even go that far yet. Fifth, it must prevent an Israeli strike on Iran for the same reasons it must avoid a strike itself, as the day after any Israeli strike will be left to the United States to manage.

Now consider the Iranian interest. First, it must guarantee regime survival. It sees the United States as dangerous and unpredictable. In less than 10 years, it has found itself with American troops on both its eastern and western borders. Second, it must guarantee that Iraq will never again be a threat to Iran. Third, it must increase its authority within the Muslim world against Sunni Muslims, whom it regards as rivals and sometimes as threats.

Now consider the overlaps. The United States is in a war against some (not all) Sunnis. These are Iran's enemies, too. Iran does not want U.S. troops along its eastern and western borders. In point of fact, the United States does not want this either. The United States does not want any interruption of oil flow through Hormuz. Iran much prefers profiting from those flows to interrupting them. Finally, the Iranians understand that it is the United States alone that is Iran's existential threat. If Iran can solve the American problem its regime survival is assured. The United States understands, or should, that resurrecting the Iraqi counterweight to Iran is not an option: It is either U.S. forces in Iraq or accepting Iran's unconstrained role.

Therefore, as an exercise in geopolitical theory, consider the following. Washington's current options are unacceptable. By redefining the issue in terms of dealing with the consequences of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, there are three areas of mutual interest. First, both powers have serious quarrels with Sunni Islam. Second, both powers want to see a reduction in U.S. forces in the region. Third, both countries have an interest in assuring the flow of oil, one to use the oil, the other to profit from it to increase its regional power.

The strategic problem is, of course, Iranian power in the Persian Gulf. The Chinese model is worth considering here. China issued bellicose rhetoric before and after Nixon's and Kissinger's visits. But whatever it did internally, it was not a major risk-taker in its foreign policy. China's relationship with the United States was of critical importance to China. Beijing fully understood the value of this relationship, and while it might continue to rail about imperialism, it was exceedingly careful not to undermine this core interest.

The major risk of the third strategy is that Iran will overstep its bounds and seek to occupy the oil-producing countries of the Persian Gulf. Certainly, this would be tempting, but it would bring a rapid American intervention. The United States would not block indirect Iranian influence, however, from financial participation in regional projects to more significant roles for the Shia in Arabian states. Washington's limits for Iranian power are readily defined and enforced when exceeded.

The great losers in the third strategy, of course, would be the Sunnis in the Arabian Peninsula. But Iraq aside, they are incapable of defending themselves, and the United States has no long-term interest in their economic and political relations. So long as the oil flows, and no single power directly controls the entire region, the United States does not have a stake in this issue.

Israel would also be enraged. It sees ongoing American-Iranian hostility as a given. And it wants the United States to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat. But eliminating this threat is not an option given the risks, so the choice is a nuclear Iran outside some structured relationship with the United States or within it. The choice that Israel might want, a U.S.-Iranian conflict, is unlikely. Israel can no more drive American strategy than can Saudi Arabia.

From the American standpoint, an understanding with Iran would have the advantage of solving an increasingly knotty problem. In the long run, it would also have the advantage of being a self-containing relationship. Turkey is much more powerful than Iran and is emerging from its century-long shell. Its relations with the United States are delicate. The United States would infuriate the Turks by doing this deal, forcing them to become more active faster. They would thus emerge in Iraq as a counterbalance to Iran. But Turkey's anger at the United States would serve U.S. interests. The Iranian position in Iraq would be temporary, and the United States would not have to break its word as Turkey eventually would eliminate Iranian influence in Iraq.

Ultimately, the greatest shock of such a maneuver on both sides would be political. The U.S.-Soviet agreement shocked Americans deeply, the Soviets less so because Stalin's pact with Hitler had already stunned them. The Nixon-Mao entente shocked all sides. It was utterly unthinkable at the time, but once people on both sides thought about it, it was manageable.

Such a maneuver would be particularly difficult for U.S. President Barack Obama, as it would be widely interpreted as another example of weakness rather than as a ruthless and cunning move. A military strike would enhance his political standing, while an apparently cynical deal would undermine it. Ahmadinejad could sell such a deal domestically much more easily. In any event, the choices now are a nuclear Iran, extended airstrikes with all their attendant consequences, or something else. This is what something else might look like and how it would fit in with American strategic tradition.
125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama's EO on: April 05, 2015, 09:09:45 PM
https://m.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/04/01/our-latest-tool-combat-cyber-attacks-what-you-need-know
126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Real Reason College Tuition costs so much on: April 05, 2015, 04:57:12 PM
Search

The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much
Laurie Rollitt

By PAUL F. CAMPOS
April 4, 2015

BOULDER, Colo. — ONCE upon a time in America, baby boomers paid for college with the money they made from their summer jobs. Then, over the course of the next few decades, public funding for higher education was slashed. These radical cuts forced universities to raise tuition year after year, which in turn forced the millennial generation to take on crushing educational debt loads, and everyone lived unhappily ever after.

This is the story college administrators like to tell when they’re asked to explain why, over the past 35 years, college tuition at public universities has nearly quadrupled, to $9,139 in 2014 dollars. It is a fairy tale in the worst sense, in that it is not merely false, but rather almost the inverse of the truth.

The conventional wisdom was reflected in a recent National Public Radio series on the cost of college. “So it’s not that colleges are spending more money to educate students,” Sandy Baum of the Urban Institute told NPR. “It’s that they have to get that money from someplace to replace their lost state funding — and that’s from tuition and fees from students and families.”

In fact, public investment in higher education in America is vastly larger today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was during the supposed golden age of public funding in the 1960s. Such spending has increased at a much faster rate than government spending in general. For example, the military’s budget is about 1.8 times higher today than it was in 1960, while legislative appropriations to higher education are more than 10 times higher.

In other words, far from being caused by funding cuts, the astonishing rise in college tuition correlates closely with a huge increase in public subsidies for higher education. If over the past three decades car prices had gone up as fast as tuition, the average new car would cost more than $80,000.

Some of this increased spending in education has been driven by a sharp rise in the percentage of Americans who go to college. While the college-age population has not increased since the tail end of the baby boom, the percentage of the population enrolled in college has risen significantly, especially in the last 20 years. Enrollment in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs has increased by almost 50 percent since 1995. As a consequence, while state legislative appropriations for higher education have risen much faster than inflation, total state appropriations per student are somewhat lower than they were at their peak in 1990. (Appropriations per student are much higher now than they were in the 1960s and 1970s, when tuition was a small fraction of what it is today.)

As the baby boomers reached college age, state appropriations to higher education skyrocketed, increasing more than fourfold in today’s dollars, from $11.1 billion in 1960 to $48.2 billion in 1975. By 1980, state funding for higher education had increased a mind-boggling 390 percent in real terms over the previous 20 years. This tsunami of public money did not reduce tuition: quite the contrary.

For example, when I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan in 1980, my parents were paying more than double the resident tuition that undergraduates had been charged in 1960, again in inflation-adjusted terms. And of course tuition has kept rising far faster than inflation in the years since: Resident tuition at Michigan this year is, in today’s dollars, nearly four times higher than it was in 1980.

State appropriations reached a record inflation-adjusted high of $86.6 billion in 2009. They declined as a consequence of the Great Recession, but have since risen to $81 billion. And these totals do not include the enormous expansion of the federal Pell Grant program, which has grown, in today’s dollars, to $34.3 billion per year from $10.3 billion in 2000.

It is disingenuous to call a large increase in public spending a “cut,” as some university administrators do, because a huge programmatic expansion features somewhat lower per capita subsidies. Suppose that since 1990 the government had doubled the number of military bases, while spending slightly less per base. A claim that funding for military bases was down, even though in fact such funding had nearly doubled, would properly be met with derision.

Interestingly, increased spending has not been going into the pockets of the typical professor. Salaries of full-time faculty members are, on average, barely higher than they were in 1970. Moreover, while 45 years ago 78 percent of college and university professors were full time, today half of postsecondary faculty members are lower-paid part-time employees, meaning that the average salaries of the people who do the teaching in American higher education are actually quite a bit lower than they were in 1970.

By contrast, a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.

Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.

The rapid increase in college enrollment can be defended by intellectually respectable arguments. Even the explosion in administrative personnel is, at least in theory, defensible. On the other hand, there are no valid arguments to support the recent trend toward seven-figure salaries for high-ranking university administrators, unless one considers evidence-free assertions about “the market” to be intellectually rigorous.

What cannot be defended, however, is the claim that tuition has risen because public funding for higher education has been cut. Despite its ubiquity, this claim flies directly in the face of the facts.
127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / T. Freidman interviews Obama in depth on: April 05, 2015, 04:43:54 PM
46 minutes of video at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/06/opinion/thomas-friedman-the-obama-doctrine-and-iran-interview.html?emc=edit_na_20150405&nlid=49641193

The Obama Doctrine and Iran

APRIL 5, 2015
Continue reading the main story Video
The Obama Doctrine and Iran

President Obama talks with Thomas L. Friedman about the calculations that informed the Iran nuclear framework and what they say about his overall approach to foreign policy.

Thomas L. Friedman


In September 1996, I visited Iran. One of my most enduring memories of that trip was that in my hotel lobby there was a sign above the door proclaiming “Down With USA.” But it wasn’t a banner or graffiti. It was tiled and plastered into the wall. I thought to myself: “Wow — that’s tiled in there! That won’t come out easily.” Nearly 20 years later, in the wake of a draft deal between the Obama administration and Iran, we have what may be the best chance to begin to pry that sign loose, to ease the U.S.-Iran cold/hot war that has roiled the region for 36 years. But it is a chance fraught with real risks to America, Israel and our Sunni Arab allies: that Iran could eventually become a nuclear-armed state.


President Obama invited me to the Oval Office Saturday afternoon to lay out exactly how he was trying to balance these risks and opportunities in the framework accord reached with Iran last week in Switzerland. What struck me most was what I’d call an “Obama doctrine” embedded in the president’s remarks. It emerged when I asked if there was a common denominator to his decisions to break free from longstanding United States policies isolating Burma, Cuba and now Iran. Obama said his view was that “engagement,” combined with meeting core strategic needs, could serve American interests vis-à-vis these three countries far better than endless sanctions and isolation. He added that America, with its overwhelming power, needs to have the self-confidence to take some calculated risks to open important new possibilities — like trying to forge a diplomatic deal with Iran that, while permitting it to keep some of its nuclear infrastructure, forestalls its ability to build a nuclear bomb for at least a decade, if not longer.


President Obama lays out his preference for engagement over isolation in his approach to foreign policy. This is an excerpt of an interview with Thomas L. Friedman.
By A.J. Chavar, Quynhanh Do, David Frank, Abe Sater and Ben Werschkul on Publish Date April 5, 2015. Photo by Todd Heisler/The New York Times.

“We are powerful enough to be able to test these propositions without putting ourselves at risk. And that’s the thing ... people don’t seem to understand,” the president said. “You take a country like Cuba. For us to test the possibility that engagement leads to a better outcome for the Cuban people, there aren’t that many risks for us. It’s a tiny little country. It’s not one that threatens our core security interests, and so [there’s no reason not] to test the proposition. And if it turns out that it doesn’t lead to better outcomes, we can adjust our policies. The same is true with respect to Iran, a larger country, a dangerous country, one that has engaged in activities that resulted in the death of U.S. citizens, but the truth of the matter is: Iran’s defense budget is $30 billion. Our defense budget is closer to $600 billion. Iran understands that they cannot fight us. ... You asked about an Obama doctrine. The doctrine is: We will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities.”

The notion that Iran is undeterrable — “it’s simply not the case,” he added. “And so for us to say, ‘Let’s try’ — understanding that we’re preserving all our options, that we’re not naïve — but if in fact we can resolve these issues diplomatically, we are more likely to be safe, more likely to be secure, in a better position to protect our allies, and who knows? Iran may change. If it doesn’t, our deterrence capabilities, our military superiority stays in place. ... We’re not relinquishing our capacity to defend ourselves or our allies. In that situation, why wouldn’t we test it?”
Continue reading the main story

Obviously, Israel is in a different situation, he added. “Now, what you might hear from Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, which I respect, is the notion, ‘Look, Israel is more vulnerable. We don’t have the luxury of testing these propositions the way you do,’ and I completely understand that. And further, I completely understand Israel’s belief that given the tragic history of the Jewish people, they can’t be dependent solely on us for their own security. But what I would say to them is that not only am I absolutely committed to making sure that they maintain their qualitative military edge, and that they can deter any potential future attacks, but what I’m willing to do is to make the kinds of commitments that would give everybody in the neighborhood, including Iran, a clarity that if Israel were to be attacked by any state, that we would stand by them. And that, I think, should be ... sufficient to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see whether or not we can at least take the nuclear issue off the table.”

He added: “What I would say to the Israeli people is ... that there is no formula, there is no option, to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon that will be more effective than the diplomatic initiative and framework that we put forward — and that’s demonstrable.”

The president gave voice, though — in a more emotional and personal way than I’ve ever heard — to his distress at being depicted in Israel and among American Jews as somehow anti-Israel, when his views on peace are shared by many center-left Israelis and his administration has been acknowledged by Israeli officials to have been as vigorous as any in maintaining Israel’s strategic edge.

With huge amounts of conservative campaign money now flowing to candidates espousing pro-Israel views, which party is more supportive of Israel is becoming a wedge issue, an arms race, with Republican candidates competing over who can be the most unreservedly supportive of Israel in any disagreement with the United States, and ordinary, pro-Israel Democrats increasingly feeling sidelined.

President Obama explains why the nuclear deal is the best, and only, option to keep Israel safe from Iran. This is an excerpt of an interview with Thomas L. Friedman.
By A.J. Chavar, Quynhanh Do, David Frank, Abe Sater and Ben Werschkul on Publish Date April 5, 2015. Photo by Todd Heisler/The New York Times.

“This is an area that I’ve been concerned about,” the president said. “Look, Israel is a robust, rowdy democracy. ... We share so much. We share blood, family. ... And part of what has always made the U.S.-Israeli relationship so special is that it has transcended party, and I think that has to be preserved. There has to be the ability for me to disagree with a policy on settlements, for example, without being viewed as ... opposing Israel. There has to be a way for Prime Minister Netanyahu to disagree with me on policy without being viewed as anti-Democrat, and I think the right way to do it is to recognize that as many commonalities as we have, there are going to be strategic differences. And I think that it is important for each side to respect the debate that takes place in the other country and not try to work just with one side. ... But this has been as hard as anything I do because of the deep affinities that I feel for the Israeli people and for the Jewish people. It’s been a hard period.”
Continue reading the main story

You take it personally? I asked.

“It has been personally difficult for me to hear ... expressions that somehow ... this administration has not done everything it could to look out for Israel’s interest — and the suggestion that when we have very serious policy differences, that that’s not in the context of a deep and abiding friendship and concern and understanding of the threats that the Jewish people have faced historically and continue to face.”

As for protecting our Sunni Arab allies, like Saudi Arabia, the president said, they have some very real external threats, but they also have some internal threats — “populations that, in some cases, are alienated, youth that are underemployed, an ideology that is destructive and nihilistic, and in some cases, just a belief that there are no legitimate political outlets for grievances. And so part of our job is to work with these states and say, ‘How can we build your defense capabilities against external threats, but also, how can we strengthen the body politic in these countries, so that Sunni youth feel that they’ve got something other than [the Islamic State, or ISIS] to choose from. ... I think the biggest threats that they face may not be coming from Iran invading. It’s going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries. ... That’s a tough conversation to have, but it’s one that we have to have.”

That said, the Iran deal is far from finished. As the President cautioned: “We’re not done yet. There are a lot of details to be worked out, and you could see backtracking and slippage and real political difficulties, both in Iran and obviously here in the United States Congress.”

On Congress’s role, Obama said he insists on preserving the presidential prerogative to enter into binding agreements with foreign powers without congressional approval. However, he added, “I do think that [Tennessee Republican] Senator Corker, the head of the Foreign Relations Committee, is somebody who is sincerely concerned about this issue and is a good and decent man, and my hope is that we can find something that allows Congress to express itself but does not encroach on traditional presidential prerogatives — and ensures that, if in fact we get a good deal, that we can go ahead and implement it.”

Since President Obama has had more direct and indirect dealings with Iran’s leadership — including an exchange of numerous letters with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — than any of his predecessors since Iran’s revolution in 1979, I asked what he has learned from the back and forth.

“I think that it’s important to recognize that Iran is a complicated country — just like we’re a complicated country,” the president said. “There is no doubt that, given the history between our two countries, that there is deep mistrust that is not going to fade away immediately. The activities that they engage in, the rhetoric, both anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, is deeply disturbing. There are deep trends in the country that are contrary to not only our own national security interests and views but those of our allies and friends in the region, and those divisions are real.”
Continue reading the main story

But, he added, “what we’ve also seen is that there is a practical streak to the Iranian regime. I think they are concerned about self-preservation. I think they are responsive, to some degree, to their publics. I think the election of [President Hassan] Rouhani indicated that there was an appetite among the Iranian people for a rejoining with the international community, an emphasis on the economics and the desire to link up with a global economy. And so what we’ve seen over the last several years, I think, is the opportunity for those forces within Iran that want to break out of the rigid framework that they have been in for a long time to move in a different direction. It’s not a radical break, but it’s one that I think offers us the chance for a different type of relationship, and this nuclear deal, I think, is a potential expression of that.”

What about Iran’s supreme leader, who will be the ultimate decider there on whether or not Iran moves ahead? What have you learned about him?


President Obama explains why Iran does not need to have nuclear weapons to be a regional powerhouse. This is an excerpt of an interview with Thomas L. Friedman.
By A.J. Chavar, Quynhanh Do, David Frank, Abe Sater and Ben Werschkul on Publish Date April 5, 2015. Photo by Todd Heisler/The New York Times.

“He’s a pretty tough read,” the president said. “I haven’t spoken to him directly. In the letters that he sends, there [are] typically a lot of reminders of what he perceives as past grievances against Iran, but what is, I think, telling is that he did give his negotiators in this deal the leeway, the capability to make important concessions, that would allow this framework agreement to come to fruition. So what that tells me is that — although he is deeply suspicious of the West [and] very insular in how he thinks about international issues as well as domestic issues, and deeply conservative — he does realize that the sanctions regime that we put together was weakening Iran over the long term, and that if in fact he wanted to see Iran re-enter the community of nations, then there were going to have to be changes.”

Since he has acknowledged Israel’s concerns, and the fact that they are widely shared there, if the president had a chance to make his case for this framework deal directly to the Israeli people, what would he say?

“Well, what I’d say to them is this,” the president answered. “You have every right to be concerned about Iran. This is a regime that at the highest levels has expressed the desire to destroy Israel, that has denied the Holocaust, that has expressed venomous anti-Semitic ideas and is a big country with a big population and has a sophisticated military. So Israel is right to be concerned about Iran, and they should be absolutely concerned that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon.” But, he insisted, this framework initiative, if it can be implemented, can satisfy that Israeli strategic concern with more effectiveness and at less cost to Israel than any other approach. “We know that a military strike or a series of military strikes can set back Iran’s nuclear program for a period of time — but almost certainly will prompt Iran to rush towards a bomb, will provide an excuse for hard-liners inside of Iran to say, ‘This is what happens when you don’t have a nuclear weapon: America attacks.’
Continue reading the main story

“We know that if we do nothing, other than just maintain sanctions, that they will continue with the building of their nuclear infrastructure and we’ll have less insight into what exactly is happening,” Obama added. “So this may not be optimal. In a perfect world, Iran would say, ‘We won’t have any nuclear infrastructure at all,’ but what we know is that this has become a matter of pride and nationalism for Iran. Even those who we consider moderates and reformers are supportive of some nuclear program inside of Iran, and given that they will not capitulate completely, given that they can’t meet the threshold that Prime Minister Netanyahu sets forth, there are no Iranian leaders who will do that. And given the fact that this is a country that withstood an eight-year war and a million people dead, they’ve shown themselves willing, I think, to endure hardship when they considered a point of national pride or, in some cases, national survival.”

The president continued: “For us to examine those options and say to ourselves, ‘You know what, if we can have vigorous inspections, unprecedented, and we know at every point along their nuclear chain exactly what they’re doing and that lasts for 20 years, and for the first 10 years their program is not just frozen but effectively rolled back to a larger degree, and we know that even if they wanted to cheat we would have at least a year, which is about three times longer than we’d have right now, and we would have insights into their programs that we’ve never had before,’ in that circumstance, the notion that we wouldn’t take that deal right now and that that would not be in Israel’s interest is simply incorrect.”

Because, Obama argued, “the one thing that changes the equation is when these countries get a nuclear weapon. ... Witness North Korea, which is a problem state that is rendered a lot more dangerous because of their nuclear program. If we can prevent that from happening anyplace else in the world, that’s something where it’s worth taking some risks.”

“I have to respect the fears that the Israeli people have,” he added, “and I understand that Prime Minister Netanyahu is expressing the deep-rooted concerns that a lot of the Israeli population feel about this, but what I can say to them is: Number one, this is our best bet by far to make sure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, and number two, what we will be doing even as we enter into this deal is sending a very clear message to the Iranians and to the entire region that if anybody messes with Israel, America will be there. And I think the combination of a diplomatic path that puts the nuclear issue to one side — while at the same time sending a clear message to the Iranians that you have to change your behavior more broadly and that we are going to protect our allies if you continue to engage in destabilizing aggressive activity — I think that’s a combination that potentially at least not only assures our friends, but starts bringing down the temperature.”


President Obama says that a final nuclear deal would require further engagement, with and monitoring of, Iran. This is an excerpt of an interview with Thomas L. Friedman.
By A.J. Chavar, Quynhanh Do, David Frank, Abe Sater and Ben Werschkul on Publish Date April 5, 2015. Photo by Todd Heisler/The New York Times.
Continue reading the main story

There is clearly a debate going on inside Iran as to whether the country should go ahead with this framework deal as well, so what would the president say to the Iranian people to persuade them that this deal is in their interest?

If their leaders really are telling the truth that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapon, the president said, then “the notion that they would want to expend so much on a symbolic program as opposed to harnessing the incredible talents and ingenuity and entrepreneurship of the Iranian people, and be part of the world economy and see their nation excel in those terms, that should be a pretty straightforward choice for them. Iran doesn’t need nuclear weapons to be a powerhouse in the region. For that matter, what I’d say to the Iranian people is: You don’t need to be anti-Semitic or anti-Israel or anti-Sunni to be a powerhouse in the region. I mean, the truth is, Iran has all these potential assets going for it where, if it was a responsible international player, if it did not engage in aggressive rhetoric against its neighbors, if it didn’t express anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish sentiment, if it maintained a military that was sufficient to protect itself, but was not engaging in a whole bunch of proxy wars around the region, by virtue of its size, its resources and its people it would be an extremely successful regional power. And so my hope is that the Iranian people begin to recognize that.”

Clearly, he added, “part of the psychology of Iran is rooted in past experiences, the sense that their country was undermined, that the United States or the West meddled in first their democracy and then in supporting the Shah and then in supporting Iraq and Saddam during that extremely brutal war. So part of what I’ve told my team is we have to distinguish between the ideologically driven, offensive Iran and the defensive Iran that feels vulnerable and sometimes may be reacting because they perceive that as the only way that they can avoid repeats of the past. ... But if we’re able to get this done, then what may happen — and I’m not counting on it — but what may happen is that those forces inside of Iran that say, ‘We don’t need to view ourselves entirely through the lens of our war machine. Let’s excel in science and technology and job creation and developing our people,’ that those folks get stronger. ... I say that emphasizing that the nuclear deal that we’ve put together is not based on the idea that somehow the regime changes.


“It is a good deal even if Iran doesn’t change at all,” Obama argued. “Even for somebody who believes, as I suspect Prime Minister Netanyahu believes, that there is no difference between Rouhani and the supreme leader and they’re all adamantly anti-West and anti-Israel and perennial liars and cheaters — even if you believed all that, this still would be the right thing to do. It would still be the best option for us to protect ourselves. In fact, you could argue that if they are implacably opposed to us, all the more reason for us to want to have a deal in which we know what they’re doing and that, for a long period of time, we can prevent them from having a nuclear weapon.”
Continue reading the main story

There are several very sensitive points in the framework agreement that are not clear to me, and I asked the president for his interpretation. For instance, if we suspect that Iran is cheating, is harboring a covert nuclear program outside of the declared nuclear facilities covered in this deal — say, at a military base in southeastern Iran — do we have the right to insist on that facility being examined by international inspectors?

“In the first instance, what we have agreed to is that we will be able to inspect and verify what’s happening along the entire nuclear chain from the uranium mines all the way through to the final facilities like Natanz,” the president said. “What that means is that we’re not just going to have a bunch of folks posted at two or three or five sites. We are going to be able to see what they’re doing across the board, and in fact, if they now wanted to initiate a covert program that was designed to produce a nuclear weapon, they’d have to create a whole different supply chain. That’s point number one. Point number two, we’re actually going to be setting up a procurement committee that examines what they’re importing, what they’re bringing in that they might claim as dual-use, to determine whether or not what they’re using is something that would be appropriate for a peaceful nuclear program versus a weapons program. And number three, what we’re going to be doing is setting up a mechanism whereby, yes, I.A.E.A. [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspectors can go anyplace.”

Anywhere in Iran? I asked.

“That we suspect,” the president answered. “Obviously, a request will have to be made. Iran could object, but what we have done is to try to design a mechanism whereby once those objections are heard, that it is not a final veto that Iran has, but in fact some sort of international mechanism will be in place that makes a fair assessment as to whether there should be an inspection, and if they determine it should be, that’s the tiebreaker, not Iran saying, ‘No, you can’t come here.’ So over all, what we’re seeing is not just the additional protocols that I.A.E.A. has imposed on countries that are suspected of in the past having had problematic nuclear programs, we’re going even beyond that, and Iran will be subject to the kinds of inspections and verification mechanisms that have never been put in place before.”

A lot of people, myself included, will want to see the fine print on that. Another issue that doesn’t seem to have been resolved yet is: When exactly do the economic sanctions on Iran get lifted? When the implementation begins? When Iran has been deemed to be complying fully?

“There are still details to be worked out,” the president said, “but I think that the basic framework calls for Iran to take the steps that it needs to around [the Fordow enrichment facility], the centrifuges, and so forth. At that point, then, the U.N. sanctions are suspended; although the sanctions related to proliferation, the sanctions related to ballistic missiles, there’s a set of sanctions that remain in place. At that point, then, we preserve the ability to snap back those sanctions, if there is a violation. If not, though, Iran, outside of the proliferation and ballistic missile issues that stay in place, they’re able to get out from under the sanctions, understanding that this constant monitoring will potentially trigger some sort of action if they’re in violation.”
Continue reading the main story

There are still United States sanctions that are related to Iran’s behavior in terrorism and human rights abuse, though, the president added: “There are certain sanctions that we have that would remain in place because they’re not related to Iran’s nuclear program, and this, I think, gets to a central point that we’ve made consistently. If in fact we are able to finalize the nuclear deal, and if Iran abides by it, that’s a big piece of business that we’ve gotten done, but it does not end our problems with Iran, and we are still going to be aggressively working with our allies and friends to reduce — and hopefully at some point stop — the destabilizing activities that Iran has engaged in, the sponsorship of terrorist organizations. And that may take some time. But it’s our belief, it’s my belief, that we will be in a stronger position to do so if the nuclear issue has been put in a box. And if we can do that, it’s possible that Iran, seeing the benefits of sanctions relief, starts focusing more on the economy and its people. And investment starts coming in, and the country starts opening up. If we’ve done a good job in bolstering the sense of security and defense cooperation between us and the Sunni states, if we have made even more certain that the Israeli people are absolutely protected not just by their own capacities, but also by our commitments, then what’s possible is you start seeing an equilibrium in the region, and Sunni and Shia, Saudi and Iran start saying, ‘Maybe we should lower tensions and focus on the extremists like [ISIS] that would burn down this entire region if they could.’ ”

Regarding America’s Sunni Arab allies, Obama reiterated that while he is prepared to help increase their military capabilities they also need to increase their willingness to commit their ground troops to solving regional problems.

“The conversations I want to have with the Gulf countries is, first and foremost, how do they build more effective defense capabilities,” the president said. “I think when you look at what happens in Syria, for example, there’s been a great desire for the United States to get in there and do something. But the question is: Why is it that we can’t have Arabs fighting [against] the terrible human rights abuses that have been perpetrated, or fighting against what Assad has done? I also think that I can send a message to them about the U.S.’s commitments to work with them and ensure that they are not invaded from the outside, and that perhaps will ease some of their concerns and allow them to have a more fruitful conversation with the Iranians. What I can’t do, though, is commit to dealing with some of these internal issues that they have without them making some changes that are more responsive to their people.”

One way to think about it, Obama continued, “is [that] when it comes to external aggression, I think we’re going to be there for our [Arab] friends — and I want to see how we can formalize that a little bit more than we currently have, and also help build their capacity so that they feel more confident about their ability to protect themselves from external aggression.” But, he repeated, “The biggest threats that they face may not be coming from Iran invading. It’s going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries. Now disentangling that from real terrorist activity inside their country, how we sort that out, how we engage in the counterterrorism cooperation that’s been so important to our own security — without automatically legitimizing or validating whatever repressive tactics they may employ — I think that’s a tough conversation to have, but it’s one that we have to have.”



President Obama on the “dangers” that arise when lawmakers breach traditional channels of foreign policy. This is an excerpt of an interview with Thomas L. Friedman.
By A.J. Chavar, Quynhanh Do, David Frank, Abe Sater and Ben Werschkul on Publish Date April 5, 2015. Photo by Todd Heisler/The New York Times.


It feels lately like some traditional boundaries between the executive and legislative branches, when it comes to the conduct of American foreign policy, have been breached. For instance, there was the letter from 47 Republican senators to Iran’s supreme leader cautioning him on striking any deal with Obama not endorsed by them — coming in the wake of Prime Minister Netanyahu being invited by the speaker of the House, John Boehner, to address a joint session of Congress — without consulting the White House. How is Obama taking this?

“I do worry that some traditional boundaries in how we think about foreign policy have been crossed,” the president said. “I felt the letter that was sent to the supreme leader was inappropriate. I think that you will recall there were some deep disagreements with President Bush about the Iraq war, but the notion that you would have had a whole bunch of Democrats sending letters to leaders in the region or to European leaders ... trying to undermine the president’s policies I think is troubling.

“The bottom line,” he added, “is that we’re going to have serious debates, serious disagreements, and I welcome those because that’s how our democracy is supposed to work, and in today’s international environment, whatever arguments we have here, other people are hearing and reading about it. It’s not a secret that the Republicans may feel more affinity with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s views of the Iran issue than they do with mine. But [we need to be] keeping that within some formal boundaries, so that the executive branch, when it goes overseas, when it’s communicating with foreign leaders, is understood to be speaking on behalf of the United States of America, not a divided United States of America, making sure that whether that president is a Democrat or a Republican that once the debates have been had here, that he or she is the spokesperson on behalf of U.S. foreign policy. And that’s clear to every leader around the world. That’s important because without that, what you start getting is multiple foreign policies, confusion among foreign powers as to who speaks for who, and that ends up being a very dangerous — circumstances that could be exploited by our enemies and could deeply disturb our friends.”

As for the Obama doctrine — “we will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities” — the president concluded: “I’ve been very clear that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon on my watch, and I think they should understand that we mean it. But I say that hoping that we can conclude this diplomatic arrangement — and that it ushers a new era in U.S.-Iranian relations — and, just as importantly, over time, a new era in Iranian relations with its neighbors.”

Whatever happened in the past, he said, “at this point, the U.S.’s core interests in the region are not oil, are not territorial. ... Our core interests are that everybody is living in peace, that it is orderly, that our allies are not being attacked, that children are not having barrel bombs dropped on them, that massive displacements aren’t taking place. Our interests in this sense are really just making sure that the region is working. And if it’s working well, then we’ll do fine. And that’s going to be a big project, given what’s taken place, but I think this [Iran framework deal] is at least one place to start.”
128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Kicking over the Table in the Middle East on: April 05, 2015, 04:04:57 PM

Share
Kicking Over the Table in the Middle East
Geopolitical Diary
April 2, 2015 | 22:10 GMT
Text Size
Print

The United States and Iran, along with other members of the Western negotiating coalition, reached an agreement whose end point will be Iran's monitored abandonment of any ambition to build nuclear weapons, coupled with the end of sanctions on Iran's economy. It is not a final agreement. That will take until at least June 30. There are also powerful forces in Iran and the United States that oppose the agreement and might undermine it. And, in the end, neither side is certain to live up the agreement. Nevertheless, there has been an agreement between the Great Satan and a charter member of the Axis of Evil, and that matters. But it matters less for what it says about Iran's nuclear program, or economic sanctions, than for how it affects the regional balance of power, a subject we wrote on in this week's Geopolitical Weekly.

Israel is the country that will be the most visible. It has been vociferous in opposing any deal with Iran. But in the end, this deal affects others less than Israel pretends. First, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's behavior does not indicate that he truly believes in an imminent Iranian nuclear threat. He has been asserting for more than a decade that the Iranians are a year or two away from a nuclear weapon. According to him, they are always a year or two away. It has become a non-falsifiable assertion. No matter what deadline passes, it does not deter Netanyahu.

What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman Explains.

But more important, if Netanyahu actually believed what he said, it is inconceivable that he would not have taken military action, with or without U.S. support, to protect Israel from an existential threat. Israel has a substantial military capability, including tactical nuclear weapons. While its forces are relatively far from Iran, there are other regional powers on the Arabian Peninsula and in the Caucasus who are hostile to Iran and frightened of Iranian nuclear weapons who could, theoretically, allow Israel to base aircraft and special forces out of their countries for an Israeli strike on Iran's facilities.

Netanyahu's statements and Netanyahu's actions — or lack of them — are utterly contradictory. If he meant what he said about the threat, and the United States was not prepared to act, the prime minister of Israel would be derelict in his responsibilities by failing to act. Netanyahu is not a man to neglect his duty. Therefore, he cannot believe what he says. Indeed, what he has wanted consistently was a U.S. attack on Iran, or at least unremitting U.S. hostility toward Iran. His fear of Iran's nuclear program had more to do with limiting a U.S.-Iranian rapprochement than protecting Israel from Iranian nuclear weapons. The latter would have produced different actions. Fear of a U.S.-Iranian rapprochement is not unreasonable, and all nations must use what tools they have to shape their environment. But in this case, the Israeli response will be of secondary importance.

Of far greater importance will be the Saudi and Turkish response. Saudi Arabia is the mortal enemy of Iran, not merely over religious issues, but geopolitically. Riyadh understands that it is rich and yet militarily constrained, while Tehran is poor but has more robust military capabilities. This is an uncomfortable position to be in. Obviously, Iran would like to dominate the Arabian Peninsula. The United States has been the guarantor of Saudi national security. The understanding with Iran, if it endures and if it evolves into a broader relationship, threatens the security of the entire Arabian Peninsula. This can also put the United States in a position where the Arabian Peninsula can no longer simply assume U.S. hostility toward Iran or U.S. support of their interests. The airstrikes on Yemen are the first indication of the region having to bear the burden of its strategic interests. There will be more such military initiatives, and the Arabian Peninsula will be wooing the United States rather than the other way around.

The same is true for another country that is far more important: Turkey. During the last few years, Ankara has played a complex game with Washington, supporting those things that were in its own interests and opposing things that were not. This makes perfect sense, but the U.S. relationship with Iran changes the basic dynamic. Last week Turkey made hostile gestures toward Iran. Turkish and Iranian interests are not identical and can easily diverge. It is important for Turkey that the United States keeps its distance from Iran. To this point, the United States wooed Turkey and both countries become reluctant partners. If the United States has a closer relationship with Iran, Turkey, like Saudi Arabia, will have to pay a much higher price for alignment with the United States and bear increasing risks if it is unwilling to pay that price.

The question of Iranian nuclear weapons is more theoretical than real. Iran will become, if not an ally, then possibly a country with which to cooperate on matters, such as what is happening in Iraq. There is a saying in chess: When you are being outplayed, kick over the table and start a new game. The understanding between Washington and Tehran is in itself both incomplete and uncertain. However, if it evolves into something solid, then we can look at this as the day the United States kicked over the table and started a new game.
129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: April 05, 2015, 03:57:29 PM
Heh, heh, heh.
 evil
130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: April 05, 2015, 03:56:03 PM
New footage from the Israeli Navy showcases the most advanced submarine in the IDF's arsenal: the Dolphin-class INS Tanin (Crocodile). The nuclear-capable submarine boasts an array of sophisticated weaponry, as well as the latest in intelligence-gathering technology. It stands at a whopping 68 meters long, compared to 57.3 meters on average for other submarines. "The submarine will receive more long-term missions, and for a greater amount of time, than submarines" the IDF possesses, one navy officer explained, adding that as a result the Navy had "extended by several days our ability to operate silently and secretly in enemy territory." The submarine's commander, Lieutenant Colonel "G", echoed those sentiments, adding that as a result of the sensitive nature of the missions it will be undertaking only the most elite navy personnel will be operating it. "Even the smallest mistake by a soldier could foil the mission in the best-case scenario, and in the worst case reveal the submarine and leave it vulnerable to attack," he said.

Sailors worked closely with the defense ministry, intelligence agencies, the air force and other elite IDF units, he added. Commander of Haifa naval base General David Salamah explained the importance of Israel's submarine fleet to national security. Israel's submarines regularly operate "deep within enemy territory", he noted. "We are talking about a major upgrade to the navy and the entire IDF, in the face of the challenges posed to the State of Israel."

=====================

Also see  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9VyYKRGIm4
131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Judith Miller on: April 05, 2015, 03:29:01 PM
The Iraq War and Stubborn Myths
Officials didn’t lie, and I wasn’t fed a line, writes Judith Miller
Then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller took part in a discussion on the protection of confidential sources on March 15, 2005, at the National Press Club in Washington,
By Judith Miller
April 3, 2015 2:53 p.m. ET
1158 COMMENTS

I took America to war in Iraq. It was all me.

OK, I had some help from a duplicitous vice president, Dick Cheney. Then there was George W. Bush, a gullible president who could barely locate Iraq on a map and who wanted to avenge his father and enrich his friends in the oil business. And don’t forget the neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon who fed cherry-picked intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, or WMD, to reporters like me.

None of these assertions happens to be true, though all were published and continue to have believers. This is not how wars come about, and it is surely not how the war in Iraq occurred. Nor is it what I did as a reporter for the New York Times. These false narratives deserve, at last, to be retired.

There was no shortage of mistakes about Iraq, and I made my share of them. The newsworthy claims of some of my prewar WMD stories were wrong. But so is the enduring, pernicious accusation that the Bush administration fabricated WMD intelligence to take the country to war. Before the 2003 invasion, President Bush and other senior officials cited the intelligence community’s incorrect conclusions about Saddam’s WMD capabilities and, on occasion, went beyond them. But relying on the mistakes of others and errors of judgment are not the same as lying.


I have never met George W. Bush. I never discussed the war with Dick Cheney until the winter of 2012, years after he had left office and I had left the Times. I wish I could have interviewed senior officials before the war about the role that WMDs played in the decision to invade Iraq. The White House’s passion for secrecy and aversion to the media made that unlikely. Less senior officials were of help as sources, but they didn’t make the decisions.

No senior official spoon-fed me a line about WMD. That would have been so much easier than uncovering classified information that officials can be jailed for disclosing. My sources were the same counterterrorism, arms-control and Middle East analysts on whom I had relied for my stories about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s growing threat to America—a series published eight months before 9/11 for which the Times staff, including me, won a Pulitzer.

In 1996, those same sources helped me to write a book about the dangers of militant Islam long before suicide bombers made the topic fashionable. Their expertise informed articles and another book I co-wrote in 2003 with Times colleagues about the danger of biological terrorism, published right before the deadly anthrax letter attacks.

Another enduring misconception is that intelligence analysts were “pressured” into altering their estimates to suit the policy makers’ push to war. Although a few former officials complained about such pressure, several thorough, bipartisan inquiries found no evidence of it.

The 2005 commission led by former Democratic Sen. Charles Robb and conservative Republican Judge Laurence Silberman called the estimates “dead wrong,” blaming what it called a “major” failure on the intelligence community’s “inability to collect good information…serious errors in analyzing what information it could gather, and a failure to make clear just how much of its analysis was based on assumptions.” A year earlier, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence denounced such failures as the product of “group think,” rooted in a fear of underestimating grave threats to national security in the wake of 9/11.

A two-year study by Charles Duelfer, the former deputy chief of the U.N. inspectors who led America’s hunt for WMD in Iraq, concluded that Saddam Hussein was playing a double game, trying (on the one hand) to get sanctions lifted and inspectors out of Iraq and (on the other) to persuade Iran and other foes that he had retained WMD. Not even the Iraqi dictator himself knew for sure what his stockpiles contained, Mr. Duelfer argued. Often forgotten is Mr. Duelfer’s well-documented warning that Saddam intended to restore his WMD programs once sanctions were lifted.

Will Tobey, a former deputy administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (which oversees America’s nuclear arsenal), still fumes about the failure to see problems in the CIA’s intelligence supporting Secretary of State Colin Powell’s now largely discredited prewar speech at the U.N. about Iraq’s WMD. Based partly on the CIA’s assurances of strong evidence for each claim, Mr. Tobey told me, Mr. Powell was persuaded that the case against Saddam was “rock solid.”

Mr. Powell declined my requests for an interview, but in his 2012 book on leadership, he acknowledges having been annoyed years later when former CIA officials bemoaned his speech’s “unsupported claims.” “Where were they,” he wrote, “when the NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] was being prepared months earlier?”

The CIA repeatedly assured President Bush that Saddam Hussein still had WMD. Foreign intelligence agencies, even those whose nations opposed war, shared this view. And so did Congress. Over the previous 15 years, noted Stuart Cohen, the former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council, none of the congressional committees routinely briefed on Iraqi WMD assessments expressed concern about bias or error.

Though few legislators apparently read the classified version of the 2002 WMD estimate—which contained more caveats than the sanitized “key findings” disclosed in October of that year—almost none disputed the analysts’ conclusion, with “high confidence,” that Saddam retained both chemical and germ weapons, or their view, with “moderate confidence,” that Iraq did not yet have nuclear weapons. Speeches denouncing Saddam’s cheating were given not just by Republican hawks but by prewar GOP skeptic Sen. Chuck Hagel and by senior Democrats Al Gore,Hillary Clinton and Jay Rockefeller, among others.

Another widespread fallacy is that such neoconservatives as Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz strong-armed an inexperienced president into taking the country to war. President Bush, as he himself famously asserted, was the “decider.” One could argue, however, that Hans Blix, the former chief of the international weapons inspectors, bears some responsibility. Though he personally opposed an invasion, Mr. Blix told the U.N. in January 2003 that despite America’s ultimatum, Saddam was still not complying fully with his U.N. pledges. In February, he said “many proscribed weapons and items,” including 1,000 tons of chemical agent, were still “not accounted for.”

Years would pass before U.S. soldiers found remnants of some 5,000 inoperable chemical munitions made before the first Gulf War that Saddam claimed to have destroyed. Not until 2014 would the U.S. learn that some of Iraq’s degraded sarin nerve agent was purer than Americans had expected and was sickening Iraqi and American soldiers who had stumbled upon it.

By then, however, most Americans had concluded that no such weapons existed. These were not new chemical arms, to be sure, but Saddam Hussein’s refusal to account for their destruction was among the reasons the White House cited as justification for war.

— Ms. Miller’s new book, “The Story: A Reporter’s Journey,” will be published on April 7 by Simon & Schuster. She was a staff writer and editor at the New York Times from 1977 to 2005.
Popular on WSJ

    ‘
132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Interview with a Christian on: April 05, 2015, 03:14:38 PM


Interview With a Christian

APRIL 4, 2015
Ross Douthat


AFTER watching the debate about religious freedom unfold over the past week, I decided to subject myself to an interview by an imaginary — but representative — member of the press. Here is our conversation:

Happy Easter!

Thank you.

O.K., enough pleasantries. You’re a semi-reasonable Christian. What do you think about the terrible Indiana “religious liberty” bill?

I favored the original version. Based on past experience, laws like this protect religious minorities from real burdens. As written, the Indiana law probably wouldn’t have protected vendors from being fined for declining to work at a same-sex wedding. But I would favor that protection as well.

Seriously? Shouldn’t businesses have to serve all comers?

I think they should be able to decline service for various reasons, religious scruples included. A liberal printer shouldn’t be forced to print tracts for a right-wing cause. A Jewish deli shouldn’t be required to cater events for the Nation of Islam.

But those are issues of belief, not identity. Denying service to gays is like denying service to blacks under Jim Crow.

None of the businesses facing sanctions are saying they wouldn’t serve gay people as a class; they just don’t want to work at nuptials. This isn’t a structural system of oppression, a society-wide conspiracy like Jim Crow; we’re talking about a handful of shops across the country. It seems possible, and reasonable, to live and let live.

I think discrimination is discrimination. What about you? Would you bake the cake?

Honestly, since so many of my friends aren’t religious or conservative, I’ve always taken for granted that being part of their lives meant accompanying them through life choices that belong to a different worldview than my own. (And I’m very grateful that they’ve accompanied and tolerated me.) My family has its share of divorces and second marriages; my friends’ romantic paths are varied; my closest friend from high school just exchanged vows with his longtime boyfriend. I’m going to a party celebrating them next month. If they asked me, I’d bring a cake.

So why can’t other believers do the same?

First, these issues are difficult and personal, and I don’t presume that my approach is always right. Second, details matter. My closest gay friends are fairly secular. But I would be uncomfortable attending same-sex vows in the style of a Catholic mass — or being hired to photograph such a ceremony. I don’t think that discomfort should be grounds for shutting down a business.

Well, that discomfort may seem religious, but segregationists felt justified by scripture too. They got over it; their churches got over it; so will yours.

It’s not that simple. The debate about race was very specific to America, modernity, the South. (Bans on interracial marriage were generally a white supremacist innovation, not an inheritance from Christendom or common law.) The slave owners and segregationists had scriptural arguments, certainly. But they were also up against one of the Bible’s major meta-narratives — from the Israelites in Egypt to Saint Paul’s “neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free.”
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

That’s not the case with sex and marriage. The only clear biblical meta-narrative is about male and female. Sex is an area of Jewish law that Jesus explicitly makes stricter. What we now call the “traditional” view of sexuality was a then-radical idea separating the early church from Roman culture, and it’s remained basic in every branch of Christianity until very recently. Jettisoning it requires repudiating scripture, history and tradition in a way the end of Jim Crow did not.

Except we know now, in a way people writing the Bible couldn’t, that being gay isn’t a choice.

I take a different view of what they could have known. But yes, the evidence that homosexuality isn’t chosen — along with basic humanity — should inspire repentance for cruelties visited on gay people by their churches.

But at Christianity’s bedrock is the idea that we are all in the grip of an unchosen condition, an “original” problem that our wills alone cannot overcome. So homosexuality’s deep origin is not a trump card against Christian teaching.

I know smart Christians who disagree with you.

So do I. I just think their views ultimately point in a post-biblical, post-Christian direction. And I also know very smart gay Christians — the Anglican theologian Wesley Hill, the Catholic writer Eve Tushnet, others — who take the orthodox view, and try to live with the tension between their attractions and their faith, with (one hopes) their fellow Christians’ assistance.

They’re prisoners of a cruel delusion. I don’t see how a loving God could put them in such an impossible position.

Then you can add this to the popular arguments against Christianity. But again, the Christian idea is that God asks the seemingly impossible of all of us — and, fortunately forgives us when we fail. Nobody has to accept this idea, but if you do it’s compatible with a lot of pain, struggle and mystery where humanity encounters God.

Especially in a faith whose “Happy Easter” can’t be separated from the cross.
133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trey tightens the screws on: April 05, 2015, 02:06:56 PM
http://conservativetribune.com/gowdy-threatens-hillary-arrest/
134  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / POTH: Justice Kennedy speaks on: April 05, 2015, 10:25:52 AM
Members of the Supreme Court rarely speak publicly about their views on the sorts of issues that are likely to come before them. So it was notable when Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer sat before a House appropriations subcommittee recently and talked about the plight of the American criminal justice system.

Justice Kennedy did not mince his words. “In many respects, I think it’s broken,” he said.

It was a good reminder of the urgency of the problem, and a stark challenge to a Congress that remains unable to pass any meaningful sentencing reform, despite the introduction of multiple bipartisan bills over the past two years.

The main topic of the subcommittee hearing was the Supreme Court’s budget, but a question on prison overcrowding from Representative Steve Womack, Republican of Arkansas, gave Justice Kennedy a chance to lay out his views.
Continue reading the main story
Related in Opinion

    Inmates watching television at Angola State Penitentiary, Louisiana, 2002.
    Opinion: Let Prisoners Take College CoursesAPRIL 4, 2015

“The corrections system is one of the most overlooked, misunderstood institutions we have in our entire government,” he said. He chastised the legal profession for being focused only on questions of guilt and innocence, and not what comes after. “We have no interest in corrections,” he said. “Nobody looks at it.”

That is not entirely fair; many lawyers and legal scholars have devoted their careers to studying the phenomenon of mass incarceration in America and to improving intolerable prison conditions. But Justice Kennedy was right that all too often decisions about sentencing and corrections are made without meaningful consideration of their long-term costs and benefits, or of their effect on the millions of people who spend decades behind bars.

“This idea of total incarceration just isn’t working,” he said. “And it’s not humane.”

Justice Kennedy has often talked about human dignity in his nearly three decades on the court, and that principle figured into his assessment of one of the most widely used control techniques in modern American prisons: solitary confinement. The practice “literally drives men mad,” he said, describing one case the justices heard recently involving a man who had been held in isolation for 25 years.
Continue reading the main story
Recent Comments
Madamoiselle
2 minutes ago

Maybe we should adopt a system more closely related to Singapore. They abolished trial by jury in the 1970's, are considered one of the...
Pat Marks
9 minutes ago

The article did not mention that over the past twenty five years There is a strong effort to divert many non violent criminals into...
niobium
10 minutes ago

America, Land of the Free.What a joke.The US has more people in jail than any other country (25% of all the jailed people in the world) as...

    See All Comments
    Write a comment

One obvious way to end this practice would be for the court to ban it under the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishments. Justice Kennedy — whose regular role as the swing vote on a closely divided court gives him tremendous power — has a mixed record on that amendment. Several times he has voted to uphold breathtakingly long sentences for nonviolent crimes. For example, in two 2003 cases, he joined the five-member majority that let stand sentences of 25 years to life and 50 years to life for men convicted in California of thefts totaling a few hundred dollars.

Justice Kennedy’s response to such manifestly unjust results is that fixing prison sentences is the job of lawmakers, not the courts. But that too easily absolves the justices of their constitutional responsibility. The four justices dissenting in the California cases argued that those grossly disproportionate sentences violated the Eighth Amendment.

In more recent years, Justice Kennedy has increasingly invoked the amendment in sentencing cases, as he did in writing the 2008 decision prohibiting the death penalty as a punishment for child rape, and in 2010 and 2012 when he voted to bar sentences of life without parole for juveniles in most circumstances. He also relied on it in a 2011 decision ordering California to reduce overcrowding in its prisons, a condition that threatened inmates’ physical and mental health.

Justice Breyer, who before joining the court helped design the modern federal sentencing guidelines in the 1980s, told the committee of his own concerns about the justice system, and in particular was sharply critical of mandatory minimum sentences. Such sentences, he told the representatives, are “a terrible idea.”

The justices were right to lay these issues directly at Congress’s door. They can accomplish only so much on their own. Meanwhile, states from Texas to California to New York to Mississippi have been reforming their prisons and their sentencing laws for several years now, with overwhelmingly positive results. Now it is Congress’s turn to reform the unjustly harsh and ineffective sentencing laws it passed in the first place.
135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Free Market Regulation on: April 05, 2015, 10:22:26 AM
Mansour Samadpour makes his way through the supermarket like a detective working a crime scene, slow, watchful, up one aisle and down the next. A clerk mistakenly assumes that he needs help, but Mr. Samadpour brushes him off. He knows exactly what he’s doing.

He buys organic raspberries that might test positive for pesticides and a fillet of wild-caught fish that might be neither wild nor the species listed on the label. He buys beef and pork ground fresh at the market. He is disappointed that there is no caviar, which might turn out to be something cheaper than sturgeon roe. That’s an easy case to crack.

Civilian shoppers see food when they go to the market. Mr. Samadpour, the chief executive of IEH Laboratories (short for Institute for Environmental Health), sees mystery, if not downright fraud. On this visit, he is shopping for goods he can test at his labs to demonstrate to a reporter that what you see on market shelves may not be what you get.

While he’s out of the office, he receives a call and dispatches a team on a more pressing expedition: They need to buy various products that contain cumin, because a client just found possible evidence of peanuts, a powerful allergen, in a cumin-based spice mix. The client wants a definitive answer before someone gets sick.
Photo
Testing vials of caviar samples at IEH Laboratories in Seattle. Credit Ian C. Bates for The New York Times

Suppliers, manufacturers and markets depend on Mr. Samadpour’s network of labs to test food for inadvertent contamination and deliberate fraud, or to verify if a product is organic or free of genetically modified organisms. Consumers, the last link in the chain, bet their very health on responsible practices along the way.

The annual cost of food-borne illnesses in the United States is $14.1 billion to $16.3 billion, according to a 2013 analysis by the Agriculture Department. The federal government has called for a shift from reaction, which usually means a large recall after people have fallen ill or died, to prevention, to reduce the number of such episodes. Wary customers want their food to be safe and genuine, and food retailers, who rely on a global array of suppliers, are looking for ways to protect their brands.

Food testing sits at the intersection of those desires. Mr. Samadpour, who opened IEH’s first lab in 2001 with six employees, now employs over 1,500 people at 116 labs in the United States and Europe. He refers to his company, one of the largest of its kind in the country, as “a privately financed public health organization.”

The Promise of DNA Tests

The two low-slung wooden buildings that house IEH’s labs at its base in Seattle feel more like a high school chemistry lab than the center of a national food security network; there’s an acrid smell, and the counters are crammed with vials of various shapes and colors, centrifuge machines and lined notebooks full of data entries.

This is where analysts coax DNA out of a tiny sample of whatever is being tested. For lethal threats, like E. coli 0157 in ground beef, the detection process involves a grim recipe of ground beef and a broth infused with nutrients that E. coli likes to eat, put in a warm place to rest for 10 hours — at which point a single E. coli cell, if it exists, will have spawned one million easy-to-detect siblings. For fraud cases, the process is somewhat simpler; lab technicians run a DNA test or chemical analysis to confirm a sample’s identity.
Continue reading the main story

Cheap technology has made this kind of testing possible. “Ten years ago, it would have taken millions of dollars to sequence a genome,” Mr. Samadpour says. “Now it takes $100. We do thousands a year.”

Business is booming — partly because IEH clients consider testing to be a gatekeeper defense in a multitiered food economy without borders. “We’re a lot more concerned about imports,” Mr. Samadpour says, because of “lack of accountability, lack of infrastructure, lack of a culture of food safety.” He says episodes like the 2008 discovery of the toxic chemical melamine in infant formula from China have contributed to a gradual shift in food manufacturers’ attitudes toward imports.

While the lab focuses primarily on safety issues like the cumin-and-peanut inquiry, there are enough fraud calls to support specialties among the lab technicians, like Kirthi Kutumbaka, referred to by his colleagues as “the emperor of fish” for his work on a seafood identification project. Once a fish is filleted, genetic testing is the only way to confirm its identity, making it a popular category for fraud.

IEH’s clients are primarily vendors who supply retailers and manufacturers, and they generally prefer to remain anonymous for fear of indicating to consumers that they have a specific worry about safety.

Costco is one of the retailers that use IEH’s services, and the company doesn’t mind talking about it.

“We have to inspect what we expect,” says Craig Wilson, the company’s vice president for quality assurance and food safety, meaning that products have to live up to their labels, particularly items in Costco’s own Kirkland Signature line.

Costco has a smaller margin of error than most food retailers; the company stocks only about 3,500 so-called S.K.U.s, or stock keeping units, while most retailers offer as many as 150,000. A single misstep is a far greater percentage of the whole. That’s why, in addition to retaining IEH, it operates its own 20-person testing lab.

“We’re not typical,” Mr. Wilson says. “We have one ketchup, one mayonnaise, one can of olives, Kirkland Signature olive oils and a couple of others.” Since 2003, the United States Department of Agriculture has required the testing of beef used for ground beef, resulting in a 40 percent reduction in cases of E. coli traced to beef consumption. Costco, which processes 600,000 to 700,000 pounds of ground beef daily, does extensive micro-sampling of the meat at its California facility, Mr. Wilson says.

The company expects its suppliers to absorb testing costs and gets no resistance, given the size of the resulting orders. Costco sells 157,000 rotisserie chickens a day. As Mr. Wilson put it: “If vendors get a bill for a couple hundred bucks on a $1 million order, who cares? They don’t.”

The sheer volume also enables Costco to demand action when there is a problem. After a 2006 outbreak of E. coli tied to Earthbound Farm’s ready-to-eat bagged spinach, in which three people died and more than 200 became ill, Mr. Wilson, one of Earthbound’s customers, instituted what he calls a “bag and hold” program for all of Costco’s fresh greens suppliers. He required the suppliers to test their produce and not ship it until they had the results of the tests.


Earthbound responded to the outbreak with a “multihurdle program that places as many barriers to food-borne illness as we can,” says Gary Thomas, the company’s senior vice president for integrated supply chain. Earthbound now conducts 200,000 tests annually on its ready-to-eat greens.

Not everyone was as quick to embrace change; some growers were concerned about losing shelf life while they waited for results. Mr. Wilson was unmoved by that argument. “If you can test and verify microbial safety, what do I care if I lose shelf life?” he says.

The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, intended to improve food safety practices, has been mired in missed deadlines, which have been attributed to food-industry concerns about overregulation and to an unrealistic timeline given the scope of the overhaul. The delays led to a lawsuit by the Center for Food Safety and the Center for Environmental Health, two advocacy groups. The F.D.A. and the Office of Management and Budget now operate under a court-ordered schedule that requires regulations to be issued in late 2015 and 2016.

The F.D.A. currently stops short of requiring produce tests, although it conducts its own “surveillance sampling,” according to Juli Putnam, an agency spokeswoman. The agency sees two drawbacks to mandatory tests: “A negative product test result does not necessarily indicate the absence of a hazard,” Ms. Putnam wrote in an email, because contamination might show up in another part of a field, and conducting more tests would increase the costs that are passed on to the consumer.

The agency is focused instead on defining minimum safety standards for “potential sources of microbiological contamination such as agricultural water, worker health and hygiene and animals in the growing area,” she wrote (though some preventive testing is conducted on sprouts).


DNATrek, a newcomer to the field, sees opportunity in another aspect of food safety testing: the need to quickly pinpoint the source of a pathogen outbreak, to avoid delays and unnecessarily broad recalls. Anthony Zografos, the company’s chief executive, says it soon plans to introduce a test called DNATrax, which will be able to identify the source of contaminated produce within an hour, narrowing recall efforts “to a specific field or packer or distributor.” The test relies on tracer DNA that is dissolved in the liquid coating applied to many types of produce after harvest or added to prepared foods; it provides a unique genetic fingerprint.

George Farquar, a chemist and Mr. Zografos’s partner in the company, was looking for ways to trace airborne contaminants as part of a national security project financed by the Defense Department when he realized that the work could be applied to food safety. He and Mr. Zografos licensed the technology from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he was conducting the research, and it will receive royalties from sales of the test. Mr. Zografos says that DNATrax will offer traceability for most types of field produce at a price of about $1 for 1,000 pounds.
Continue reading the main story

Tracking Down Fraud

Food safety is a yes-or-no proposition — either there is a contaminant or there isn’t. Food fraud, a smaller segment of the universe of problem foods, is harder to detect because it can take so many forms. Fish from a country whose imports have been banned might arrive at the market labeled with a different country of origin, honey might be cut with cheaper extenders, and saffron might not even be saffron.

When asked if fake food has ever crossed the threshold at Costco, Mr. Wilson smiles and says, “I’m going to go with ‘no,’ but you’re not going to believe me entirely. Yes, there have been egregious things, and we’ve taken care of them, and that’s that.”

Olive oil is a popular target for fraud because there are several ways to charge more for less. Compliance with United States Department of Agriculture quality standards for extra-virgin olive oil is voluntary. Unless a supplier pays for testing, passes and puts a U.S.D.A.-certified sticker on the bottle, consumers have no way to know whether they got extra-virgin olive oil. Any grade of olive oil can be doctored with cheap filler oils like canola, because they have no flavor. And the country of origin listed on the label isn’t always where the contents are from.

About five years ago, Mr. Wilson decided it was time to send an employee to Tuscany to collect leaves from Tuscan olive trees. Costco now has an index of DNA information on “all the cultivars of Tuscan olive oil, about 16 different ones,” he says. “When they harvest and press, we do our DNA testing.”

A group of undergraduates at the University of California, Davis, has developed the OliView, a biosensor that can detect rancid or adulterated olive oil. They expect to have the device ready for sale, at $60 to $80, in 18 months to two years. “At the supermarket level, we found that a lot of times the oil was just old and rancid,” says Selina Wang, research director at the U.C. Davis Olive Center and one of the students’ advisers, “but there were also samples labeled extra virgin that were actually a little bit of virgin olive oil mixed with refined olive oil.”

Adulterated oil, more common among imports, can stump even food professionals. Ms. Wang says that at the center, they “have seen samples with as much as 70 percent canola oil.”

DNATrek has also developed a test for products where fraud is a temptation — “high-value stuff, truffles, saffron, premium juices, honey, seafood and olive oil,” Mr. Zografos says.

Mr. Samadpour says that in multi-ingredient products, the source of trickery is usually hidden further down the food chain than the name on the package. “It’s not the top people who get involved in economic adulteration,” he says. “It’s someone lower down who sees a way to save a penny here or there. Maybe it’s 2 or 3 cents, but if you sell a million units, that’s $20,000 to $30,000.”

Consumer Vigilance

As with most expanding technologies, there are believers and skeptics. David Gombas, senior vice president for food safety and technology at the 111-year-old United Fresh Produce Association, echoes the position of the Food and Drug Administration: Testing is not a sufficient answer for his members, who include anyone engaged in the fresh produce industry, “from guys who come up with seeds to growers, shippers, fresh-cut processors, restaurants and grocery stores, everyone from beginning to end,” from small organic farms to Monsanto.

Their common ground, he says, is a commitment to food safety — but members disagree on how to achieve it, including Mr. Gombas and Mr. Samadpour, who are both microbiologists. “Microbiological testing provides a false sense of security,” Mr. Gombas says. “They can find one dead salmonella cell on a watermelon, but what does that tell you about the rest of the watermelon in the field? Nothing.”

Testing has its place, he says, but as backup for “good practices and environmental monitoring,” which includes things as diverse as employee hygiene and site visits. “I’m a fan of testing,” he says, “if something funny’s going on.” Otherwise, he has taken on the role of contrarian. “People think testing means something. When I say it doesn’t, they smile, nod and keep testing.”

Mr. Samadpour says sampling “can reduce the risk tremendously but can never 100 percent eliminate it,” but he will take a tremendous reduction over a food crisis any day. The government’s “indirect” stance, which mandates safety but does not require testing, allows companies to interpret safe practices on “a spectrum,” he says, “from bare minimum to sophisticated programs,” and he worries about safety at the low end of that range.

He says consumer vigilance is the best defense against the selling of groceries under bare minimum standards.

IEH tested the contents of Mr. Samadpour’s grocery cart:

The organic raspberries showed 0.12 parts per million of spinosyn A, an insecticide with a tolerance limit of 0.035 p.p.m. on organic crops and 0.7 p.p.m on nonorganic berries. Mr. Samadpour assumed that was the result of an errant breeze from a nearby nonorganic field.

The beef and pork were cross-contaminated — each had amounts of the other — a common occurrence, he says, when markets grind first one batch of meat and then the other. These were small amounts as well, but their presence could upset a Muslim or Jewish customer who does not eat pork, or a Hindu who does not eat beef. The fish was what the label said it was.

As for the cumin and the peanuts, the F.D.A. posted a handful of product recalls, all of them involving cumin and peanuts, including Kellogg’s MorningStar Farms chipotle black bean burgers, which Mr. Wilson removed from Costco’s shelves.

The recalls continued for weeks, until the F.D.A. issued a blanket statement “advising people who are highly allergic to peanuts to consider avoiding products that contain ground cumin or cumin powder, because some shipments of these products have tested positive for undeclared peanut protein. People who are highly allergic or sensitive to peanuts may be at risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction.”

Inside the labs, reaction was more world-weary than panicked; this was business as usual.

“Other than the label somebody’s written,” Mr. Farquar says, “you really have no idea where your food’s coming from.”

Mr. Samadpour, having been at this far longer, is more philosophical. “I eat street food when I travel,” he says. “One can’t become a microbe-phobe.”
136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Two versions on: April 05, 2015, 10:17:36 AM
WASHINGTON — Negotiators at the nuclear talks in Switzerland emerged from marathon talks on Thursday with a surprisingly detailed outline of the agreement they now must work to finalize by the end of June.

But one problem is that there are two versions.

The only joint document issued publicly was a statement from Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, and Federica Mogherini, the European Union foreign policy chief, that was all of seven paragraphs.

The statement listed about a dozen “parameters” that are to guide the next three months of talks, including the commitment that Iran’s Natanz installation will be the only location at which uranium is enriched during the life of the agreement.

But the United States and Iran have also made public more detailed accounts of their agreements in Lausanne, and those accounts underscore their expectations for what the final accord should say.



A careful review shows that there is considerable overlap between the two accounts, but also some noteworthy differences — which have raised the question of whether the two sides are entirely on the same page, especially on the question of how quickly sanctions are to be removed. The American and Iranian statements also do not clarify some critical issues, such as precisely what sort of research Iran will be allowed to undertake on advanced centrifuges during the first 10 years of the accord.


“This is just a work in progress, and those differences in fact sheets indicate the challenges ahead,” said Olli Heinonen, the former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Obama administration officials insist that there is no dispute on what was agreed behind closed doors. But to avoid time-consuming deliberations on what would be said publicly, the two sides decided during Wednesday’s all-night discussions that each would issue its own statement.

American officials acknowledge that they did not inform the Iranians in advance of all the “parameters” the United States would make public in an effort to lock in progress made so far, as well as to strengthen the White House’s case against any move by members of Congress to impose more sanctions against Iran.

“We talked to them and told them that we would have to say some things,” said a senior administration official who could not be identified under the protocol for briefing reporters. “We didn’t show them the paper. We didn’t show them the whole list.”

The official acknowledged that it was “understood that we had different narratives, but we wouldn’t contradict each other.”

No sooner were the negotiations over on Thursday, however, than Mr. Zarif posted to Twitter a message that dismissed the five-page set of American parameters as “spin.”

In an appearance on Iranian state television Saturday, Mr. Zarif kept up that refrain, saying that Iran had formally complained to Secretary of State John Kerry that the measures listed in the American statement were “in contradiction” to what had actually been accepted in Lausanne.

Mr. Zarif, however, did not challenge any nuclear provisions in the American document. Instead, he complained that the paper had been drawn up under Israeli and congressional pressure, and he restated Iran’s insistence on fast sanctions relief, including the need to “terminate,” not just suspend, European Union sanctions.

David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security and an expert who has closely monitored the nuclear talks, said that Mr. Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran may be engaged in their own spin to camouflage the significance of the concessions they made.

“Iran conceded a considerable amount in this deal, and Zarif and Rouhani may want to break the news back home slowly,” Mr. Albright said.

Assuming that was the Iranians’ motivation, Mr. Albright noted a potential downside to the tactics.

“When negotiations resume, Iran may believe it created additional room to backtrack on its commitments, assuming the U.S. is right about what was agreed in the room,” he added.

A review of the dueling American and Iranian statements show that they differ in some important respects. The American statement says that Iran has agreed to shrink its stockpile of uranium to 300 kilograms, a commitment the Iranian statement does not mention.

The Iranian statement emphasizes that nuclear cooperation between Iran and the six world powers that negotiated the agreement will grow, including in the construction of nuclear power plants, research reactors and the use of isotopes for medical research. That potential cooperation is not mentioned in the American statement.


The American statement says that Iran will be barred from using its advanced centrifuges to produce uranium for at least 10 years. Before those 10 years are up, Iran will be able to conduct some “limited” research on the centrifuges. The Iranian version omits the word “limited.”

In other cases, the two sides agree on some measures, but explain the implications very differently. In an important compromise, Iran will be allowed to convert its Fordo underground nuclear installation to a science and technology center.

In explaining this provision, the American statement notes that almost two-thirds of the centrifuges at Fordo will be removed and that none of those that remain will be used to enrich uranium for 15 years. The provision, Obama administration officials assert, carries no serious risk for the United States but will enable the Iranians to save face.

The Iranian statement stresses that the deal means that more than 1,000 of the centrifuges will be kept there, though it suggests only several hundred will be in operation to produce industrial or medical isotopes. As reported by Iranian journalists, Abbas Araqchi, the country’s deputy foreign minister, said that the modifications made at the Fordo installation could be rapidly reversed if the United States did not hold up its end of the deal.

The starkest differences between the American and Iranians accounts concern the pace at which punishing economic sanctions against Iran are to be removed. The Iranian text says that when the agreement is implemented, the sanctions will “immediately” be canceled.

American officials have described sanctions relief as more of a step-by-step process tied to Iranian efforts to carry out the accord.

“We fully expected them to emphasize things that are helpful in terms of selling this at home,” said a second Obama administration official, who was granted anonymity to discuss the deliberations. “We believe that everything in our document will not need to be renegotiated.”

But with three months of hard bargaining ahead, some experts worry that the lack of an agreed-upon, detailed public framework can only complicate the negotiations — and may even invite the Iranians to try to relitigate the terms of the Lausanne deal.

“I think it is a troubling development,” said Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who has been critical of the Obama administration’s handling of the talks. “They will exploit all ambiguities with creative interpretations.”
137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / George Will confirms Nixon's treason on: April 05, 2015, 10:12:14 AM
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/08/12/george-will-confirms-nixons-vietnam-treason
138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POtH: Not so awesome and shocking after all on: April 05, 2015, 09:55:41 AM
Three months into what allies once confidently described as a “shock and awe” drive to overcome his rivals and dominate the Republican presidential field, Jeb Bush’s early campaigning looks like the juggernaut that wasn’t.

He is grappling with the Republican Party’s prickly and demanding ideological blocs, particularly evangelical leaders and pro-Israel hawks. He is struggling to win over grass-roots activists in Iowa and New Hampshire, states he has visited only a handful of times. And Mr. Bush’s undisputed advantage — the millions of dollars streaming rapidly into his political organization — may not be enough to knock out other contenders.

For all the Republican “bundlers” who have signed up to raise money for Mr. Bush, others remain uncommitted or are hedging their bets by aiding more than one candidate. Some are privately chafing at what they view as the Bush camp’s presumption of their loyalty.


Other wealthy donors, mindful of their power to reshape the Republican race with “super PAC” donations, have been more direct: The casino magnate Sheldon Adelson recently made what two people briefed on it described as an “animated” call to one of Mr. Bush’s top supporters after former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, a Bush adviser, criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in a speech in March.

It is a far cry, party officials, activists and donors said, from the early success of George W. Bush, Mr. Bush’s brother, in securing the 2000 Republican presidential nomination.

For the Bush family, inevitability is not what it used to be. “There hasn’t been a coalescing around him like there was for his brother in 1998 and 1999,” said Ed Martin, who led the Missouri Republican Party until February and is now president of the Eagle Forum, the conservative group founded by Phyllis Schlafly. “I just don’t have a sense among big donors and Republican leaders that this is Jeb’s to lose.”

Aides have assured worried supporters that Mr. Bush, a former Florida governor, will spend more time on the stump, honing his message, cultivating grass-roots enthusiasm and winning over local leaders and ordinary Republican voters.

Fred Zeidman, a prominent bundler, said Mr. Bush had attracted an enormous number of supporters outside the family network. “You’re not seeing either of the old Bush teams running this campaign,” he said, “and I think it’s proof positive that people feel very strongly.”

But even among business leaders who see Mr. Bush as an attractive candidate, some have wondered about the series of major policy speeches his team promised, which he has been slow to deliver.

“The smart money is taking it slower and waiting to see who runs and how these candidates develop a platform,” said Scott Reed, the top political adviser to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Raising money is an important part of the game. But it’s not the whole game.”

The first primary votes are still nearly 10 months away, giving Mr. Bush’s team plenty of time to adjust, and Republicans show no sign of unifying behind another candidate. Mr. Bush’s advisers say he never believed he would be able to clear the field. And they say his refusal to bend to the demands of people whose views he does not share demonstrates that he is running a different type of race.
Continue reading the main story

“As Governor Bush considers the possibility of a run, he’s working hard to earn the support of people throughout the party and deliver a positive message about how conservative reforms can restore opportunity and prosperity for more Americans,” Kristy Campbell, a spokeswoman for Mr. Bush, said in an email.

In January, Mr. Bush’s allies started using the phrase “shock and awe” to describe his plan to lock up as many of the party’s major donors and policy experts as possible. The intent was to make him the sole credible contender for the blessing of the Republican establishment. Mr. Bush was successful in driving the 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, from trying another campaign. And few doubt that he leads in fund-raising, though his organization will not have to disclose its finances until July.

But while Mr. Bush continues to position himself as Republicans’ best hope in the general election, recent polls show him performing no better against Hillary Rodham Clinton than Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin or Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. And he is well behind Mr. Walker in Iowa, which has made a habit of rejecting candidates seen as their party’s inevitable nominees.

“If he’s going to run for the presidency because his father and his brother were president, is that why we should support him?” asked Colleen Platt, a City Council member in University Park, Iowa.

There is also lingering suspicion of Mr. Bush among the Tea Party grass roots, which arose while Mr. Bush was focused on business and philanthropic interests.

Ovide Lamontagne, the Tea Party candidate in the 2010 Republican primary for the Senate in New Hampshire, suggested that Mr. Bush had not reached out sufficiently to conservatives there. “A good number of candidates” have approached him, he said, but Mr. Bush has not.

Many big fund-raisers continue to shop around. Paul Singer, one of Wall Street’s most sought-after Republican donors, is holding a series of dinners to introduce his associates to various candidates.

And John A. Catsimatidis, a New York Republican, contributed $50,000 to a super PAC backing Mr. Bush and recently gave him a ride to Florida on his plane — but has also contributed to Mr. Walker’s political organization.

Several donors said it was too early to line up behind one candidate, or hinted that Mr. Bush should not take their support for granted.

“I don’t subscribe to ‘shock and awe,’ ” said John Rakolta Jr., a Michigan construction executive and former top fund-raiser for Mr. Romney. “I don’t think it’s a constructive strategy.”

Mr. Bush’s intense focus on fund-raising has left him to contend with a donor class far more restive than in his brother’s day, before the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and other court rulings amplified the power of wealthy contributors.

For example, Mr. Bush must navigate between the party base, which remains strongly opposed to same-sex marriage, and elite donors who have tried to steer the party to support it or leave the issue aside altogether.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

In California last week, Mr. Bush told donors that he approved of a decision by Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana to seek changes to a new law billed as protecting religious freedom — just two days after Mr. Bush had firmly defended it on a conservative radio show.

Jewish donors also remain angry at Mr. Bush for a March 23 speech that Mr. Baker, who was secretary of state under Mr. Bush’s father, delivered to J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group. Mr. Adelson, perhaps the single largest Republican donor, quickly complained to Mel Sembler, a Florida developer who has long supported Mr. Bush. And Mr. Bush was pressed again about Mr. Baker’s speech at another California event last week.

In defending himself, Mr. Bush, who has described himself as “my own man” on foreign policy, pointed out that his brother had a strong record of support for Israel, one attendee said.

Mr. Sembler declined to discuss his call with Mr. Adelson, but maintained that most of the party’s big donors were moving to Mr. Bush. He acknowledged, though, that “a few” were saying they would “hold off and see who else is really going to get in.”

Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, suggested that Mr. Bush’s candidacy was like a car built to endure the occasional speed bump. He predicted that Mr. Bush would begin to speak more loudly and clearly, and to define himself less by his surname.

“He’s going to have to stake out his claim here,” Mr. Pawlenty said. “And the sooner the better.”
139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Obama Doctrine on: April 05, 2015, 09:54:13 AM
http://www.occupydemocrats.com/watch-pres-obama-brilliantly-destroys-a-loaded-foxnews-question/
140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: The Many Dourghts of CA on: April 05, 2015, 05:04:12 AM
The Many Droughts of California
By JEFF WHEELWRIGHTAPRIL 3, 2015


MORRO BAY, Calif. — CALIFORNIA has only two seasons, rainy and dry. In March, when the rains stop — assuming they have begun — we must forget about precipitation for at least six months. The rainfall determines our mood for the summer and fall. Where I live, on the Central Coast, 17 inches of rain per winter has been the long-term average. Beating that number — we last did it five years ago — feels like winning the lottery. Lately, the average has been well under 10.

The difference between a good rain year in California and a bad one depends on the number of storms blowing in from the Pacific. One or two storms a winter is bad; four to six, good. Even in wet, happy years, when we shrug off floods and mudslides, rain is intermittent. Storms soak the valleys and snow blankets the mountains for a day or two, but then follows a week or two of sun. During the dry times, where we find ourselves now, the long series of sunny days becomes a little scary. As of Wednesday, the water content of the snowpack in the Sierra range was lower than at any time since 1950. Relentless pumping of groundwater is causing farmland to sink in the Central Valley.

As the drought enters its fourth year, the voluntary tightening of water use has failed to meet its goals. So this week Gov. Jerry Brown instituted mandatory restrictions. Cities and towns will have to cut their consumption by 25 percent, compared with 2013.

But the state is so big and diverse that a dozen different droughts are in effect. Northern Californians, blessed with racing rivers, have relatively little to worry about, while around the megalopolis of Los Angeles, the water sources are remote and aqueducts are lifelines. Desert dwellers near Arizona and Nevada hardly perceive drought, while coastal residents like me take false comfort from the ocean and standby desalination plants.

Yet all across the state, skirmishes over a shrinking resource are taking place. Having watched my neighbor wash his truck when he’s not supposed to, now I’ll be justified in turning him in. More of us will report violators to the city authorities — though perhaps without giving our names. If the drought continues, California’s easygoing social compact may crack and wither, too.


Although aqueducts crisscross the state, half of Californians draw water from local reservoirs and groundwater. Two communities facing each other across Morro Bay — my town and the younger, more ragged community of Los Osos — have adopted different approaches. About 20 years ago, we in Morro Bay paid for a pipeline to tap into what’s called state water. That makes us dependent on someone else’s allocations, but in a drought we are in better shape than Los Osos, which relies solely on groundwater. Under strain from overpumping, Los Osos aquifers are threatened by chemical pollution and saltwater intrusion from the ocean. Morro Bay has municipal wells as backup, and a desalination plant to filter brackish groundwater. We try not to be smug.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

About 30 miles inland, the city of Paso Robles is surrounded by ranches and vineyards. This picturesque, rolling country is a favorite of wine-tasting tourists. Unfortunately, the local reservoirs are below capacity and groundwater pumping has lowered the water table so that ranchers and landowners are finding that their wells are drying up. Vineyard owners, who are relative newcomers, not only take the bulk of the groundwater but also can afford deeper wells, so as to take more. Class warfare is beginning.

Even forming a committee to review the problem has been divisive.

The conflict looming the largest in the state is the one between urban and agricultural interests, but that mother of all battles, upheaving the economy, will not be fought unless the drought lasts several more years. Years ago when water rights in California were assigned, the cities and their industries were not as muscular and thirsty as they are today.

The surface water for the big farms and dairy operations in the Central Valley is first transported from mountain reservoirs to the delta region, where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers meet the fingers of San Francisco’s East Bay. The delta also provides the water that town and city dwellers drink.

Here is the home of the delta smelt, a 2-inch-long fish that has been caught up in water battles for a generation. By court order, the endangered smelt is entitled to a certain amount of river water, ahead of downstream users. Farmers in the Central Valley have blamed the smelt for cutting their allotments — and that’s during the good years. Residential supplies haven’t been affected by the smelt, so far as we’ve noticed.

Since the drought started, the fish has had fewer and fewer defenders. Recently, it might have done the state a favor by becoming what one biologist termed “functionally extinct,” because of an increasingly saline environment. If society writes off the smelt, who will inherit its portion of the water? Probate for the fish could be rancorous — a dry run, so to speak, for a much greater struggle to come. Perhaps we Californians have taken our bountiful natural resources too much for granted. Let’s hope that nature doesn’t settle the score.
141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Earthquakes in OK on: April 05, 2015, 04:37:52 AM
PRAGUE, Okla. — Yanked without warning from a deep sleep, Jennifer Lin Cooper, whose family has lived near here for more than a half-century, could think only that the clamor enveloping her house was coming from a helicopter landing on her roof. She was wrong.

A 5.0-magnitude earthquake — the first of three as strong or stronger over several days in November 2011 — had peeled the brick facade from the $117,000 home she bought the year before. Ms. Cooper, 36, could not get out until her father pried a stuck storm door off the front entrance. Repairs have so far cost $12,000 and forced her to take a second job, at night, to pay the bill.

At a packed town hall meeting days later, Ms. Cooper said, state officials called the shocks, including a 5.7 tremor that was Oklahoma’s largest ever, “an act of nature, and it was nobody’s fault.”

Many scientists disagree. They say those quakes, and thousands of others before and since, are mainly the work of humans, caused by wells used to bury vast amounts of wastewater from oil and gas exploration deep in the earth near fault zones. And they warn that continuing to entomb such huge quantities risks more dangerous tremors — if not here, then elsewhere in the state’s sprawling well fields.


“As long as you keep injecting wastewater along that fault zone, according to my calculations, you’re going to continue to have earthquakes,” said Arthur F. McGarr, the chief of the induced seismicity project at the federal Earthquake Science Center in Menlo Park, Calif., who has researched the Prague quakes. “I’d be a little worried if I lived there. In fact, I’d be very worried.”

But in a state where oil and gas are economic pillars, elected leaders have been slow to address the problem. And while regulators have taken some protective measures, they lack the money, work force and legal authority to fully address the threats.

More than five years after the quakes began a sharp and steady increase, the strongest action by the Republican governor, Mary Fallin, has been to name a council to exchange information about the tremors. The group meets in secret, and has no mandate to issue recommendations.

The State Legislature is not considering any earthquake legislation. But both houses passed bills this year barring local officials from regulating oil and gas wells in their jurisdictions.

The state seismologist’s office, short-staffed, has stopped analyzing data on tremors smaller than magnitude 2.5 — even though a recent study says those quakes flag hidden seismic hazards “that might prove invaluable for avoiding a damaging earthquake.”

The governor referred an interview request to Michael Teague, her energy and environment secretary. Mr. Teague said the governor’s earthquake council was helping coordinate the response to the shocks and that underfunded regulators and scientists had benefited from efforts to find new state and federal assistance for their work.

“It’s not working well enough if your house is shaking, absolutely no doubt,” he said. “But it’s working very well.”


But others say the political will is missing to confront an earthquake threat tied to Oklahoma’s dominant industry.

It is “a dangerous game of Russian roulette,” said Jason Murphey, the Republican state representative from earthquake-ridden Guthrie, in central Oklahoma. “If a dangerous earthquake happens and causes lots of damage and injuries,” he said, “a cloud will hang over the energy sector for a long time to come.”

If scientists see dangers, many Oklahomans are wary of disrupting an industry so woven into everyday life.

The state’s oil and gas wells gush profits to corporate owners, but also royalties to farmers and homeowners, and tax payments to the state and cities. By some accounts the industry supports as many as one in five Oklahoma jobs. It showers Oklahoma universities with millions of dollars in donations and helps make dreams like Oklahoma City’s N.B.A. franchise, reality.

It is also a major political contributor to Ms. Fallin, legislators and all three elected members of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which oversees oil and gas production and disposal wells.

“We always want to be invited to the prom,” said State Representative Cory Williams, a Democrat from Stillwater, the home of Oklahoma State University and one of the state’s most seismically active areas. “And we’ve decided that oil and gas is the best prom date we’ll ever get, and we don’t want oil and gas to go away.”

Those blessings, however, are not unalloyed.

From 2010 to 2013, Oklahoma oil production jumped by two-thirds and gas production rose by more than one-sixth, federal figures show. The amount of wastewater buried annually rose one-fifth, to nearly 1.1 billion barrels. And Oklahoma went from three earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater to 109 — and to 585 in 2014, and to 750-plus this year, should the current pace continue. In the United States, only Alaska is shaken more.

The Corporation Commission lacks explicit authority to regulate earthquake risks. So it is trying to contain the risks posed by roughly 3,200 active wastewater disposal wells using laws written to control water pollution.

Last spring, the commission began trying to weed out quake risks by scrutinizing wells near larger quakes for operational problems and permit violations. A few dozen wells made modifications; four shut down. It is now difficult to win approval for new wells near stressed faults, active seismic areas or the epicenters of previous quakes above 4.0 magnitude. Regulators significantly expanded the areas under scrutiny last month. Yet the quakes continue.

Privately, some companies are cooperating with regulators and scientists by offering proprietary information about underground faults. Publicly, the industry wants Oklahomans to beware of killing the golden goose.

Many in the industry were reluctant to comment for this article. But Kim Hatfield, the regulatory chairman of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and president of Crawley Petroleum, warned: “A reaction of panic is not useful.”  Shutting down disposal wells and the industry they serve, he added, “will make ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ look like a cheery movie.”

A Surge in Wastewater

The mechanics of wastewater-induced earthquakes are straightforward: Soaked with enough fluid, a layer of rock expands and gets heavier. Earthquakes can occur when the pressure from the fluid reaches a fault, either through direct contact with the soaked rock or indirectly, from the expanding rock. Seismologists have documented such quakes in Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kansas and elsewhere since the 1960s.


But nowhere have they approached the number and scope of Oklahoma’s quakes, which have rocked a fifth of the state. One reason, scientists suspect, is that Oklahoma’s main waste disposal site, a bed of porous limestone thousands of feet underground, lies close to the hard, highly stressed rock containing the faults that cause quakes.

The salty, sometimes toxic wastewater is a byproduct of extracting oil and gas, whether by hydraulic fracturing of once-unreachable shale deposits, commonly called fracking, or from conventional wells. Most is pumped out of the ground with oil or gas, then returned to the earth in a so-called disposal well, often at a different location.

The Corporation Commission faces a complicated task. It can order a shutdown or operational change only one well at a time, and only if a well violates its operating permit or is clearly tied to an earthquake risk.

But geologists say the sheer volume of waste being buried in an area with many wells — and not any single well — causes most quakes. It often is difficult or impossible to assess blame to a particular well.

Some other states like Arkansas and, this week, Kansas, have imposed blanket shutdowns or cutbacks on wells near active quake zones. “We don’t have the ability or the legal authority to issue a moratorium,” Dana Murphy, one of the three elected corporation commissioners, said in an interview.

“We do have the ability to take certain actions in emergency situations,” she continued. “But that’s emergencies when they start happening. It doesn’t talk about what happens before the emergencies occur.”

The 2011 quakes that damaged Ms. Cooper’s home in Prague (pronounced “prayg”) illustrate the regulators’ limited reach.

Acting on geologists’ suspicions after the first temblor, regulators tested and pored over operations data from three wells — two small ones and a huge one, called Wilzetta, sunk by the Tulsa-based company New Dominion in 1999. They were seeking some definitive cause of the tremor.

They found none. The wells still pump today, even as worried regulators wave off operators who want to sink new ones. Indeed, by December 2013, Wilzetta had nearly doubled its average monthly volume of waste compared with the months before the 2011 shocks.

Without convincing evidence that a well poses a seismic threat, one official said, regulators are powerless to order precautions, much less shutdowns. “Shut it in? How?” said that official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was barred from discussing specific cases. “Show me the cause. Show me the violation.”
Continue reading the main story

Hamstrung, regulators now may have pushed their authority to its limits. Beginning last May, the commission began tightening permits for new disposal wells, requiring seismicity tests and requiring shutdowns if quakes occurred nearby.

More than five years after earthquakes began a sharp and steady increase in Oklahoma, the strongest action by Gov. Mary Fallin has been to name a council to exchange information about the tremors. Credit Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Existing wells were unaffected. But last month the agency required operators of hundreds of wells to prove they were not accidentally pumping wastewater into bedrock, which seismologists say raises earthquake risks.

“We are operating on the assumption that time is of the essence,” a regulatory program manager at the commission, Matt Skinner, said in an interview.

Scientists certainly agree.

Federal seismologists have for a year warned of rising earthquake risks. Last July, researchers stated in Science magazine that wastewater-induced earthquakes were approaching a fault near Oklahoma City capable of producing a magnitude 7.0 shock, though other experts call that unlikely. In January, scientists including Oklahoma’s state seismologist, Austin Holland, cited a rising quake risk and identified three faults capable of “significantly larger” earthquakes.

Last month, a South African geophysicist delivered the most specific warning yet: Another magnitude 5-plus quake could occur by 2016, and one fault running through Stillwater and two other cities potentially could yield up to a magnitude 6.5 shock.



anthony
7 hours ago

Oklahoma, Thanks so much for making Texas look good. I did not think it was possible.

    See All Comments
    Write a comment

While scientists worry, political leaders have been slow to recognize the threat.

First elected in 2010, Governor Fallin appointed the earthquake advisory council last September. “Oklahoma has always had seismic activity, but the reality is we are seeing more,” she said then. “It’s important that we study this issue and have sound science that can inform decisions.”

She allowed only last week that wells accidentally drilled into rock containing faults could “potentially” set off shocks. Scientists say that is only one factor at play in the quakes.

The governor’s 12-member earthquake advisory council, drawn from industry, government, the Legislature and academia, works as an information clearinghouse, said Mr. Teague, her energy and environment secretary and the group’s chairman.

“The whole idea of the group,” he said, “is what are you working on? What are the gaps that you’ve got, and is there somebody else that can fill that gap?”

The most glaring gaps, however, remain mostly unfilled.
Photo
Sandra Ladra and her husband, Gary, near their home in Prague. Ms. Ladra, whose knees were battered by a collapsing fireplace during the 2011 earthquakes, has sued well operators. Credit Nick Oxford for The New York Times

Last month the state promised a clerk, two technical experts and $50,000 to help regulators assess wells, but a $600 million-plus budget deficit makes significant aid unlikely. The Legislature could grant the commission greater authority, but legislators say that is not an option in a state where regulation is deeply unpopular, and the oil and gas industry holds political and economic sway.

Residents File Suit

The industry has worked on several fronts to contain concern about the quakes.

In October 2013, almost two years after the Prague quakes, Dr. Holland, the state seismologist, issued a news release warning that the earthquake risk in Oklahoma City, about 50 miles west of Prague, had increased. Wastewater disposal wells, he added, may be “a contributing factor.” Two weeks later, he was summoned to the office of the University of Oklahoma’s president, David L. Boren, to meet Harold G. Hamm, the chairman of Continental Resources, one of the state’s biggest oil and gas companies. Mr. Boren sits on Continental’s board, for which he has been paid more than $1.6 million in stock awards and directors’ fees since 2009, according to proxy statements.

Continental officials did not respond to a request for comment. Last month, after the newsletter EnergyWire reported the meeting, Mr. Boren called the session “purely informational.”

Dr. Holland said that Mr. Boren assured him his academic freedom as a scientist was unchallenged. Then, Dr. Holland said, Mr. Hamm told him that public discussions of disposal wells “are unnerving — they can dramatically affect the industry.”

Continental is seeking to shape that public discussion, arguing in newspapers, on television and to regulators that the earthquake epidemic is not man-made, but part of an unusually active period for quakes worldwide.

Still, in public meetings and in courtrooms, some residents have begun to demand an accounting. In August, Sandra Ladra, a Prague resident injured by a collapsing fireplace during the 2011 earthquakes, sued the Wilzetta well’s operator, New Dominion, and the Spess Oil Company, which operates the two smaller wells nearby.

Then, in February, came a class-action lawsuit against the two companies by Ms. Cooper, whose house in Prague was heavily damaged. Her suit seeks compensation for quake damage not only to her home, but to any homes in nine counties surrounding Prague.

That case has yet to be heard. But Ms. Ladra’s suit, now before the State Supreme Court, previews the industry response: The wells operate legally, and regulators should hear complaints against them. Letting juries decide their culpability in earthquakes invites financial disaster.

“I don’t want to belittle the public’s concern about earthquake swarms. I live here, too,” Robert G. Gum, a lawyer for New Dominion, said at an October hearing. “But it’s no more important to the people sitting in this courtroom and the people in this state than the state’s economy. It’s no more important in recognizing how important the oil and gas industry is to that economy.”

If juries hold the companies liable for Prague’s earthquakes, he added, “I doubt if this is the last lawsuit that will get filed. These wells will become economic and legal liability pariahs. They will be shut down.”

To Ms. Cooper, that message is clear. “People need to just take their losses for the greater good of the oil and gas companies — you know, do your part,” she said.

She does not buy it.

“If the truth destroys something,” she said, “then it needs to be destroyed.”
142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: April 05, 2015, 02:47:51 AM
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=468415179991106
143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Good news! on: April 05, 2015, 02:18:26 AM
http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-could-destroy-irans-electric-network/#ixzz3WJ77oU58
144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Roger Clinton accepted foreign cash for Pres. Bill Clinton on: April 04, 2015, 03:05:22 PM
Roger Clinton Told FBI That He Accepted Foreign Cash For President Bill Clinton
By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN
Published on TheHillaryDaily.com on April 3, 2015
Raking in foreign cash is nothing new to the Clinton family.  Bill Clinton's brother, Roger, told FBI agents that he "received money for President Clinton from foreign governments" during Bill's presidency.

Roger claimed that, after the first few times he brought back money for the President, either Bill or his staff told him that the President could not accept money from foreign governments and that he should send the money back.

Now, that's a good one, isn't it?  What are the odds that Roger Clinton packed up wads of cash and sent it back to where it came from?  And what about the first few times?  What happened to that money?

In 2002, the House Committee on Government Reform issued a scathing report on the Clinton Presidential Pardons with disturbing findings about the President's brother:

"Roger Clinton engaged in a systematic effort to trade on his brother's name during the Clinton Administration."

The section on Roger went well beyond just pardons and included a number of his other schemes to trade on his relationship to the President. His combined take was $700,000 -- and that's just what he deposited in his bank account and could be traced.  It seems likely that he pocketed or spent at least some additional cash. Roger insisted that his brother was aware of his activities and approved of them.

Roger admitted to receiving $335,000 in cash and travelers checks from foreign sources such as South Korea, Venezuela, and Taiwan that were deposited into his account during Bill's presidency.  Roger refused to tell the Committee why he had received the checks, but apparently told the FBI that a lot of it was for overseas "concerts" by his band.  The Committee noted that the fact that the travelers checks were provided in blank "suggests that the funds were intentionally provided to Clinton in a manner calculated to conceal their origin."  All of the travelers checks were purchased overseas and brought to the U.S. by Roger Clinton, who did not disclose them to Customs officials as required by federal law.

The Committee also noted that it was likely that there were more travelers checks and case that was not deposited into his account.

The House Committee uncovered these checks in Roger Clinton's bank account:

CASH OR TRAVELERS CHECKS PAYMENTS TO ROGER CLINTON
Date Deposited   Type of Check   Origin   Purchaser Name   Amount
November 30, 1998   American Express   Unknown   Chen Jianxing   $1,000
December 1, 1998   American Express   Taiwan   Huang Xian Wen   $15,000
December 8, 1998   American Express   Taiwan   Huang Xian Wen   $23,000
December 15, 1998   Citicorp   Taiwan   Unknown   $90,000
December 15, 1998   Unknown   Unknown   Unknown   $29,000
December 15, 1998   Visa-Sumitomo   Taiwan   Lin Mei Guang   $4,000
December 15, 1998   American Express   Taiwan   Huang Xian Wen   $2,000
July 12, 1999   American Express   Unknown   Unknown   $20,000
July 12, 1999   Citicorp   South Korea   Sook-Eun Jang   $5,000
November 30, 1999   Citicorp   Taiwan   Unknown   $3,000
November 30, 1999   Citicorp   Taiwan   Unknown   $10,000
November 30, 1999   Citicorp   Taiwan   Unknown   $5,000
November 30, 1999   Visa   Taiwan   Unknown   $1,000
November 30, 1999   Visa   Taiwan   Xu Jingsheng   $3,000
November 30, 1999   Citicorp   Venezuela   Pedro Jose Garboza Matos   $38,000
November 30, 1999   Unknown   Unknown   Unknown   $40,000
February 22, 2000   American Express   Taiwan   Qu Guang Yin   $7,000
March 24, 2000   Citicorp   Venezuela   Pedro Jose Garboza Matos   $3,000
April 5, 2000   American Express   Taiwan   Mou Chuanxue   $4,000
April 17, 2000   American Express   Taiwan   Qu Guang Yin   $13,000
April 17, 2000   American Express   Unknown   Suk Eun Chang   $5,000
May 15, 2000   American Express   Unknown   Unknown   $5,000
July 13, 2000   Citicorp   South Korea   Seung-Chul Ham   $1,000
July 27, 2000   Citicorp   South Korea   Seung-Chul Ham   $2,000
July 31, 2000   Citicorp   South Korea   Seung-Chul Ham   $4,000
August 2, 2000   American Express   Unknown   Unknown   $1,000
August 11, 2000   American Express   Unknown   Unknown   $1,000
Total               $335,000
TOTAL PAYMENTS RECEIVED = $335,000

In addition to the $335,000 listed above, Roger also deposited $85,000 in cash in his personal bank account between January and November 1998. In December 1999, he deposited a $70,000 travelers check from "Suk Eun Chang" as well as a $10,000 travelers check from the same source.  Clinton refused to disclose the source of these funds, saying only that he got some of the money for performing in foreign countries with his band.  The Committee was unable to find Suk Eun Chang to set any further information. 

Roger also said that his foreign hosts gave him gifts such as rugs and vases, paid for his transportation and provided a presidential security guard in the host country.  They were particularly generous -- they even added money to pay for the taxes on the money they paid.

Wow.  Wonder whether the Beatles got such a deal?

Roger Clinton also got funds allegedly for his musical appearances form Edvard Akopyan who paid the president's brother $61,100 in 1999 when he was acting "as a middleman in scheduling Roger's appearance at a musical concert in Kazakhstan."  Does anyone really believe that Roger's talents were in such demand?  These funds, are sure to heighten the controversy surrounding payments to the Clintons from foreign sources during Hillary's service as Secretary of State.  That they were sometimes intended for the president himself and that President Clinton encouraged the practice, adds a new dimension to the corrupt payments to the Clinton family.

In addition, the Cuba Travel Services company engaged Roger for $30,000 to lobby his brother to lift travel restrictions to Cuba.  He was never registered as a lobbyist or agent of a foreign government as required, but provided evidence that he spoke to his brother about the issue.

Although he lied to the FBI about it, Roger also accepted $50,000 from the Gambino crime family to lobby for executive clemency for Rosario Gambino, a mob leader serving a 45 year sentence for drug trafficking.  Although he was unsuccessful in this effort, he deposited the funds nonetheless.

(He also accepted $43,500 for his unsuccessful attempt to secure a pardon for Garland Lincenium, whose family sold their life savings to pay Roger Clinton and his agents.)

Roger solicited several other people in his pay-for-pardon scheme, but they didn't fall for it.

So think about it.  Can you think of any legitimate reason that foreign governments would pay Roger Clinton?

It was the beginning of the amazing Clinton family foreign money boondoggle.
The 2016 Buzz -- All The Latest News on the Candidates and Issues. 


145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / STratfor's predictions over time on: April 04, 2015, 01:14:24 PM



Share
Chronology: The Evolution of an Iranian Nuclear Deal
Analysis
April 3, 2015 | 08:59 GMT
Print
Text Size
Iranian women sitting in a car flash the "V for Victory" sign as they celebrate on Valiasr street in northern Tehran, April 2. (ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)
Analysis

Editor's Note: In light of the announcement that Iran and the six world powers reached a framework deal after double overtime negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, this chronology includes some of the pivotal analyses identifying the steps toward an eventual accord. The April 2 deal paves the way for a binding agreement in three months, once the finer details have been worked out.

Kicking Over the Table in the Middle East

    April 2, 2015: The United States and Iran, along with other members of the Western negotiating coalition, reached an agreement whose end point will be Iran's monitored abandonment of any ambition to build nuclear weapons, coupled with the end of sanctions on Iran's economy. It is not a final agreement. That will take until at least June 30. There are also powerful forces in Iran and the United States that oppose the agreement and might undermine it. And in the end, neither side is certain to live up the deal. Nevertheless, there has been an agreement between the Great Satan and a charter member of the Axis of Evil, and that matters. But it matters less for what it says about Iran's nuclear program, or economic sanctions, than for how it affects the regional balance of power, a subject we wrote on in this week's Geopolitical Weekly.

Iran Reaches an Agreement With the West

    April 2, 2015: After double overtime negotiations in Lausanne, Iran and the six world powers announced a framework deal that largely covers the key sticking points of a nuclear agreement, leaving the technical details to be worked out over the next three months. Though there are several critical ambiguities in the joint statement, on the whole this statement is highly favorable to Iran. The careful wording was designed to enable Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to sell this deal at home and could help stave off U.S. congressional dissent in the months leading up to the June 30 deadline — though this deal will not depend on congressional approval for implementation.

Washington Turns Mistrust Into a Virtue in Negotiations

    Feb. 4, 2015: More than two weeks after Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif took a 15-minute stroll in Geneva with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran's hard-line journalists and politicians are still lambasting the foreign minister for the seemingly innocuous move. As parliament grilled him, Zarif defended himself by arguing he had just taken a midnight flight followed by five hours of intense negotiations and needed fresh air. His opponents, however, charged him with "trampling the blood of martyrs" and of displaying a level of intimacy appropriate only for lovers or "partners of international thievery."

A Financially Stressed Rouhani Takes on His Opponents

    Jan. 13, 2015: The coming week will be an important one for Iran's relations with the United States. With just six weeks to go before the deadline in the nuclear negotiations, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will travel to Geneva to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Jan. 14. The two will discuss ways to speed up the negotiating process, and then U.S. and Iranian negotiating teams will spend Jan. 15-17 working out technical details of the agreement. Finally, on Jan. 18, Iran will meet with the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany to round out this stage of the negotiation.

Iran's Presidential Camp Goes on the Offensive

    Jan. 5, 2015: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has managed to undermine his right-wing opponents, who primarily are led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. This progress could mature into a more sustainable lead for Rouhani's pragmatic conservatives, provided the president can demonstrate that his policy of negotiating with the United States has strengthened the Islamic republic. If Rouhani fails to show progress, his present gains will dissipate, and Iran's conservatives could also resurge.

Stratfor's 2015 Annual Forecast

    Jan. 12, 2015: An understanding between Washington and Tehran will endure this year and Iran will maintain limits on enrichment activity while the United States gradually eases sanctions, relying principally on executive power to do so. Lower oil prices will constrain Iran, as will the prospect of Iran becoming a more politically viable energy alternative to Russia. These limits will help underpin this negotiation. However, the political complexities surrounding this process, along with technical constraints, mean the Iranian energy sector is unlikely to see a revival this year that significantly increases the amount of Iranian oil on the market.

The U.S.-Iran Talks Transcend the Nuclear Issue

    Nov. 24, 2014: The second deadline to reach a final agreement on Iran's controversial nuclear program has expired, with both Iran and the six world powers agreeing on a second extension that gives them seven months to reach a comprehensive agreement. The United States and Iran were not expected to reach a final agreement by the Nov. 24 deadline. What is more important is that the negotiations have reached a point where both sides have an interest in continuing discussions until they reach a settlement. In the long run, the nuclear issue is not as important for either side as the regional dynamics are.

Stratfor's Third-Quarter Forecast

    July 8, 2014: Iran and Western powers face a looming deadline to either reach a negotiated settlement on Iran's nuclear program or agree to continue negotiations. We do not expect Iran and the P-5+1 group (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) to reach a final agreement by the initial deadline of July 20, but both sides will demonstrate enough progress in the negotiations to continue to work toward a comprehensive settlement. U.S. President Barack Obama will rely on his executive authority to reduce sanctions pressure on Iran, including relaxing enforcement of current trade and financial sanctions, in order to help Tehran's negotiating team maintain enough leeway within Iran to continue talks. Iranian energy exports could grow slowly toward the end of the quarter as Iran and its large Asian customers take advantage of the minor sanctions relief, but we still do not expect a wholesale lifting of oil sanctions on Iran or significant Western investment into Iran's energy sector this year.

In Nuclear Talks, Iran Resists Russian Advances

    July 2, 2014: As foreign diplomats arrived in Vienna on July 2 for the sixth round of talks between representatives of Iran and P-5+1 countries, key sticking points remained unresolved. Ahead of the July 20 deadline, the most important topics are the future of Iran's uranium enrichment program, concerns about the heavy-water plutonium reactor in Arak and the extent to which the United States and the European Union will roll back sanctions. The P-5+1 is composed of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany, but it is Russia that will be the key player to watch as the talks progress. Moscow wants to improve its relationship with Iran to undermine the potential new balance of power in the Middle East, a balance that would free up U.S. resources and allow Washington to counter Russian influence. While recent Russian outreaches to the Iranians are unlikely to prevent a transitional agreement with Washington in the coming weeks, Iran will continue to exploit the U.S.-Russia split to enhance its negotiating position against the United States.

The Meaning of Iran

    Jan. 29, 2014: The nuclear talks with Iran have two meanings. For those highly skeptical of the process the talks are, or should be, about nuclear weapons — and about preventing Iran from obtaining them. For the Obama administration, which is committed to the process, the nuclear issue is partly a pretext, something that must be finessed, in order to reach a strategic understanding with Iran.

Could a Detente With the U.S. Change Iran?

    Jan. 23, 2014: The preliminary agreement over Iran's nuclear program is nearing implementation. But for all that has been said about how a rapprochement will affect bilateral ties, it is worth noting how it will affect each country individually. Since September, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has often said he wants to repair ties with the United States. This is partly because the stakes are higher for the Islamic republic, which could change fundamentally if Tehran normalized relations with Washington.

Strategic Reversal: The United States, Iran and the Middle East

    Jan. 5, 2014: Efforts to achieve a comprehensive agreement between Iran and the United States will remain at center stage in 2014. Stratfor founder and Chairman George Friedman predicted this outcome in Chapter 7 of his 2011 book, The Next Decade. To give our subscribers a more comprehensive look at the geopolitical realities that produced the current state of affairs and that will continue to steer the detente process, Stratfor republishes that chapter in its entirety.

Detainees as a Bargaining Chip in U.S.-Iranian Negotiations

    Dec. 19, 2013: The resurfacing in Iranian and U.S. media of the case of missing U.S. citizen Robert Levinson offers a small but revealing snapshot of the ongoing thaw of ties between Washington and Tehran. In a news conference Dec. 17, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham reiterated Iran's claim that Levinson is no longer in the country. Afkham went on to mention Iran's concern over Iranian detainees in the United States — a sign that Tehran may be pursuing a prisoner swap with Washington as part of broader negotiations.

Next Steps for the U.S.-Iran Deal

    Nov. 25, 2013: What was unthinkable for many people over many years happened in the early hours of Nov. 24 in Geneva: The United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran struck a deal. After a decadelong struggle, the two reached an accord that seeks to ensure that Iran's nuclear program remains a civilian one. It is a preliminary deal, and both sides face months of work to batten down domestic opposition, build convincing mechanisms to assure compliance and unthread complicated global sanctions.

U.S., Iran: Why They Will Now Likely Negotiate

    Aug. 2, 2013: Diplomatic relations between Tehran and Washington will improve after Iran's new president assumes office Aug. 4, ending months of speculation over whether Iran and Washington will find accommodation in their nuclear standoff. In fact, in recent weeks both sides have expressed interest in resuming bilateral nuclear talks. Those talks never took place simply because Iran never had to participate in them. Its economy was in decent shape despite the sanctions, its regional geopolitical position had been secure and its domestic political environment was in disarray. But now things are different. Tehran is devoting an unsustainable amount of resources to Syrian President Bashar al Assad in his fight against the Syrian rebellion. And while economic sanctions have not yet forced Iran to the negotiating table, Iranian leaders will likely choose to engage the United States voluntarily to forestall further economic decline. The inauguration of President-elect Hassan Rouhani provides an ideal opportunity for them to do so.

Iran Lays the Groundwork for Negotiations

    Nov. 6, 2012: In a press conference Saturday night, Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Hassan Asafari spoke about Tehran's willingness to suspend its efforts to enrich uranium to 20 percent. Saudi-owned Al Arabiya apparently misquoted Asafari, reporting that Iran had suspended uranium enrichment as a goodwill gesture ahead of the yet-to-be-scheduled resumption of the P-5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) nuclear talks with Iran. On Sunday, however, Asafari clarified on the English-language website of Iran's state-owned Press TV that the country had in fact not halted 20 percent enrichment, but he maintained that Tehran — in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions — would accept enriched uranium from abroad to supply its five-megawatt Tehran Research Reactor for civilian use.

Timing Is Critical for Nuclear Talks

    Oct. 23, 2012: Emerging conditions have created a framework for serious negotiations to develop between Iran and the United States. The dialogue would not only address the issue of Iran's nuclear program but also include broader issues, such as Syria and Afghanistan, and the core issue of what level of recognition the United States is willing to give to an Iranian sphere of influence in the region. Over the past several weeks, Stratfor has carefully tracked the signs pointing to this dialogue as Iran — using Turkey as a facilitator — has attempted to feel out a dialogue with Washington. The pieces appear to be falling in place, but there is still the matter of getting past the U.S. election before any bold moves are attempted by either side to carry the conversation forward.

Iran's Nuclear Program and Its Nuclear Option

    Nov. 8, 2011:  Details and specifics of the forthcoming International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on the Iranian nuclear program continued to leak out over the weekend, with the formal report expected later this week. The growing rhetoric about Iran — including talk from certain Israeli and American corners about an air campaign against Iran — had already begun to intensify in anticipation of the report, which will say more explicitly than previous IAEA assessments that Iran is indeed actively pursuing a nuclear weaponization program.

Thinking About the Unthinkable: A U.S.-Iranian Deal

    March 1, 2010: The United States apparently has reached the point where it must either accept that Iran will develop nuclear weapons at some point if it wishes, or take military action to prevent this. There is a third strategy, however: Washington can seek to redefine the Iranian question. As we have no idea what leaders on either side are thinking, exploring this represents an exercise in geopolitical theory. Let's begin with the two apparent stark choices.
146  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / It's getting worse in Europe on: April 04, 2015, 01:05:54 PM
http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/world-report/2015/04/02/europe-has-a-problem-with-virulent-anti-semitism?src=usn_tw
147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: April 04, 2015, 01:14:40 AM
Certainly Rubio is aware of this editorial by the WSJ and I'm guessing he is giving it some thought.

148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ on the Rubio-Lee Tax Plan on: April 03, 2015, 11:03:54 AM
Where the Rubio Tax Plan Falls Short
The child credits and new rates pit groups against one another in a way that across-the-board rate cuts do not.
Sen. Marco Rubio at the Capitol Hill announcement of a tax-reform plan drawn up with Sen. Mike Lee, March 4. ENLARGE
Sen. Marco Rubio at the Capitol Hill announcement of a tax-reform plan drawn up with Sen. Mike Lee, March 4. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
By
Amity Shlaes And
Matthew Denhart
April 2, 2015 7:17 p.m. ET
87 COMMENTS

Can a technical debate over tax plans trigger an identity crisis in the Republican Party? Apparently, yes. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah recently launched their “Economic Growth and Family Fairness Tax Reform Plan.” Within a few days former presidential candidate Steve Forbes fired back with a flat-tax plan. In policy circles the big question is whether Jeb Bush and Scott Walker will back “Rubio-Lee” or “flat tax.”

The Rubio-Lee plan takes a different approach in the name of achieving the old Republican goal of growth. But the approach is so different that it can hurt the viability of the Republican Party and even set in train changes that may slow future growth.

Signaling opportunity throughout the tax code has long been the basis of the philosophy known as supply-side economics, or “Reaganomics.” Reaganomics treats even individual wage earners as entrepreneurs. The marginal rate to which a worker is subject under the progressive tax schedule is crucial.

A higher rate on the next dollar a worker earns discourages him from working more. The highest tax bracket is especially important as top earners produce the most and innovate the most. Incentivized by a low top rate, they will increase earnings more than those further down the income scale. That top marginal rate also functions as a symbol of how society rewards enterprise.

Of course, Republicans have also long routinely backed targeted tax devices for groups: the child credit, education credits and so on. But such mini-entitlements were add-ons to build political coalitions that could support the main cause: dramatic across-the-board rate reductions.

Broadly speaking, the evidence from the Reagan years supports the traditional Republican emphasis on the top marginal rate. A stream of revenues stronger than the Treasury had predicted, $11 billion more, followed Reagan’s 1981 cut in the top rate to 50% from 70%.

The topmost earners responded especially vigorously, working and earning more. As economist Lawrence Lindsey pointed out years ago (Journal of Public Economics, 1987), about 40% of the extra revenue collected came from the top taxpayer group. As Mr. Lindsey noted in his 1991 book, “The Growth Experiment,” the top 0.1% of taxpayers paid 14% of the taxes in 1986, compared with only 7% in 1981.

The Rubio-Lee plan lowers the marginal rate on the corporate income tax significantly, to 25% from 35%. But on the personal side their proposal drops the top marginal rate on individual income by a puny 4.6 percentage points, to 35% from 39.6%.

By comparison the top rate in the 1986 tax law was 28% (down from 50%); 33% in George W. Bush’s 2000 proposal, and 28% in Mitt Romney’s 2012 proposal. Mr. Forbes’s flat tax is 17%.

What’s more, Rubio-Lee lowers tax thresholds drastically. Singles with taxable income as low as $75,000 find themselves entering the 35% top bracket; for couples the top rate applies after $150,000. Currently, individuals don’t hit the 35% bracket until $411,501, and the same holds for couples. The very top current rate, 39.6%, doesn’t set in for individuals until $413,201 and for couples until $464,851 in taxable income. It is no wonder that Democratic and liberal strategists have singled out the Rubio-Lee plan for praise.

Rubio-Lee also raises the child credit to an unusually generous $2,500 per child, available even to wealthy families. Current child credits feature restrictions on use, and income limits. In short, the senators are flipping traditional GOP priorities. Add-ons for groups trump pro-growth cuts.

Since Rubio-Lee taxes income below the $75,000 and $150,000 thresholds at a low 15%, it is unclear how many Americans would end up paying more in taxes overall than they do at present. But the plan pits groups against one another in a way that across-the-board cuts do not. Couples with several children who live in low-tax states with lower-cost housing are entitled to breaks. Couples who live in high-tax states and are childless are not. Businesses enjoy lower rates than wage earners.

The nonpartisan Tax Foundation recently estimated that Rubio-Lee would increase economic growth so that by 2025 the economy would be 15% larger than otherwise, almost entirely due to business tax cuts. The effect of the child credit on growth is reckoned at zero. Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute notes that if Rubio-Lee dropped all the preferences it contains, old and new, the plan could drop its top income-tax rate to 20% or lower.

Growth fueled by corporate tax cuts may suffice to offset costly items like the child credit on paper. But the Tax Foundation’s scoring doesn’t capture the cost of resentment between groups, or that of a tax code that emphasizes families over individuals. Rubio-Lee does not make enough effort to encourage that group of top income earners to strive.

A Republican plan that emphasizes “fairness” to this extent risks establishing a trend. Rubio-Lee sets the stage for greater tax gifts to particular groups in the future, with eventual hikes to the top marginal rate. If the self-styled party of enterprise does not emphasize the individual, no one will.

The overall seriousness of the Rubio-Lee plan is commendable. But to make the plan worth endorsing requires a major change: scrapping the child credit and replicating the business side cuts on the individual side.

Miss Shlaes is the author of “Coolidge” (HarperCollins, 2013). Mr. Denhart is the executive director of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation.
Popular on WSJ


149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yet another fatal flaw on: April 02, 2015, 07:41:50 PM
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/iran-deal-kerry-flawed-negotiations-close-116623_full.html#.VR3hay5UWAi
150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Is Turkey enabling ISIS? on: April 02, 2015, 07:19:26 PM


http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/is-turkey-behind-isis/
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 659
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!